COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— The Columbus Police Department held a news conference Saturday afternoon as they continue to investigate a Friday night shooting that left nine juveniles injured.
Five, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 17. Those are the ages of nine children injured in a Friday night shooting at a Shell gas station on Warm Springs Road.
Over a dozen law enforcement officials responded to the scene from both the Columbus Police Department and Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office.
Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon tells news outlets the shooting stems from an altercation that took place at a party in the surrounding area.
“What I do want to say to our parents is, make sure we know where our children are. Let’s make sure we know what our children have in their possession,” Chief Blackmon said. “What I want to say to everyone, let’s make sure we get involved and work towards helping to communicate how to peacefully resolve differences of opinions. How to peacefully resolve conflict without resorting to gunfire.”
Evidence markers at the scene indicated rounds were fired in multiple areas around the gas station.
Chief Blackmon says the youngest victim, a five-year-old boy, was at the gas station with a family member when he got caught in the crossfire.
“This epidemic that is sweeping our nation, of this lack of maturity or mental acuity to be able to make a decision on some of these young people’s parts. I just get tired of seeing folks when they have a disagreement or an argument or maybe even a fist fight. They think they have to reach for a gun and go to deadly force. That’s just that’s just got to stop,” Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said. “We have to find a way as a community to reclaim our young people.”
The city plans to do just that.
“The young people that refuse to take advantage of the organizations and the programs that are out there to prove themselves. To give themselves an opportunity, and a really good life, and they want to stay on the street and commit the crimes. Then it becomes public safety’s responsibility to catch them and lock them up for as long as we can,” he said.
Chief Blackmon says four of the nine children have already been discharged. No suspects have been developed at this time. Anyone with information is urged to call Det. E. Rosado at 706-225-3162.
Feb. 17, 2023: Multiple shots ring out at Shell gas station near Warm Springs Road, dozens of law enforcement officers respond (wrbl.com)
Feb. 18, 2023: WATCH: Columbus police hold press conference on shooting that injured 9 juveniles (wrbl.com)