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Augusta has seen mass shootings before, and this could have been a bad one

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – When a gunman opened fire on a crowd in downtown Augusta early Saturday, the outcome wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Using what the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office described as an “assault rifle,” the The gunman fired into a crowd, hitting at least some of the people.

Authorities confirmed at least one injury, although News 12 has received reports of more.

Officers shot the suspect, who was taken to a hospital.

This was the scene early June 8 after a man opened fire on a crowd of people in...

But apparently no one was killed, as Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen says he didn’t get a call.

That’s despite what witnesses told us they heard about 100 rapid-fire gunshots. causing chaos in local businesses.

The number of mass shootings in the US is on the rise, and last year there were 655 of these shootings in the country.

That’s not a record, which was set in 2021, with 689 of them, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall firearm homicide rates increased by about 35% from 2019 to 2020.

The archive shows that mass shootings especially increased after May 2020, coinciding with an overall increase in gun violence during the pandemic.

At the CSRA, that problem continues, with more than 150 lives lost in one year outbreak of deadly violence in just over two years.

The outbreak has affected communities large and small on both sides of the Savannah River, but Augusta, the region’s largest city, has been hit particularly hard.

Authorities have blamed gangs for much of the problem.

MASS SHOOTINGS SO FAR THIS YEAR IN THE US:

Local authorities are trained for mass shooting incidents. Just Wednesday, they held a symposium on how to deal with emergencies and incidents with many casualties as Saturday’s shooting could have become.

They even had a recent experience when a A mass shooting in May 2023 left two people dead and others injured at a motorcycle club in Augusta on the East Boundary. Investigators found 150 shell casings at the site after what authorities said was a dispute between motorcycle groups.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree called the May 2023 mass shooting “a lesson learned.”

“Gun violence has increased nationally this year, and unfortunately Augusta is not exempt,” Roundtree said at the time.

“To bring this kind of violence to our city, to add us to a national mass shooting list, is unconscionable. This is something we will not tolerate here in Richmond County,” he said.

Now it has happened again, but it seems we were luckier this time.

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