COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Following a string of deadly shootings in Columbus, Muscogee County Sheriff Greg Countryman and Columbus Police Department Interim Police Chief Stoney Mathis sat down with WRBL’s Kenzie Beach. In a News 3 Exclusive they gave an in-depth look at how the two agencies are teaming up to put violent criminals behind bars. The two have a clear message for criminals in Muscogee County.
“We’re not playing about this, it is all about our citizens having a better quality of life.”Sheriff Greg Countryman – Muscogee County Sheriff
Following two separate shootings resulting in the death of a 4-year-old and 15-year-old, Sheriff Countryman and Chief Mathis are coming together and using every resource.
“We have a heinous crime like that, we come together and we will put every one of our police officers on the street to put these criminals in jail.”Stoney Mathis – Interim Chief, Columbus Police Department
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, they did just that. Police say 4-year-old Jacquese Walker Jr. was shot and killed by his father during a domestic dispute. The child’s mother was also injured in the shooting and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Dozens of law enforcement vehicles combed through neighborhoods of Midtown after a resident in the St. Elmo area saw the suspect, 35-year-old Jacquese Antwan Walker, approaching their home. Chief Mathis says, acting quickly is crucial.
“Criminals like this, the first 48 hours are crucial if we can do it in 24 hours and put these guys behind bars that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”Stoney Mathis – Interim Chief, Columbus Police Department
Police say they set up a perimeter and were not leaving until Walker was in custody. Walker was detained at the corner of 14th Avenue and 25th Street near Antioch Baptist Church. Walker was immediately taken to the Muscogee County Jail, a win for law enforcement of Columbus no matter the uniform.
“Just to see the officers and deputies are acting and meshing together, it’s fun for them”Sheriff Greg Countryman – Muscogee County Sheriff
“It doesn’t matter if you have a blue uniform or a brown uniform, our job is to put criminals in jail. Anybody that commits a crime in Columbus we’re going to put our resources together and put them in jail.”Interim Chief Stoney Mathis – Columbus Police Department
Something the Sheriff says was not always the case.
“For too long the problems that we had in our community were ignored. When the citizens said we had a gang problem, it fell on deaf ears. We have two people that are committed to seeing things the same way and for the same reason and for the same purpose, it is all about our citizens.”Sheriff Greg Countryman – Muscogee County Sheriff
They have a clear message to criminals in Muscogee County. Sheriff Countryman says it’s a choice.
“For those of you that do not want to change, and do not wish to change, we are going to change your life for you. That is making sure you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law because at the end of the day our citizens deserve better than this. And we’re going to give them better. We are going to give them our very best.”Sheriff Greg Countryman – Muscogee County Sheriff
Sheriff Countryman and Chief Mathis have a clear goal, the two tell WRBL they are stronger together. Sheriff Countryman says the last 24 hours will stick with him the rest of his career as he sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
In a joint effort law enforcement also detained a separate murder suspect. 17-year-old Camario Carter was arrested by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s office for his alleged involvement in the murder of 15-year-old Deshaunvia Lindsey.
Police say Lindsey was shot to death near the basketball court in front of the Fluellen Rec Center Monday. Carter is facing additional charges in Harris County, including 14 counts of Entering an Auto and 3 Counts of Theft by Taking. The Muscogee County Sheriff’s office turned Carter over to the Columbus Police Department. He is now behind bars awaiting trial.