19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (2024)

By Staff

Published: Jun. 9, 2024 at 11:55 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2024 at 7:01 PM EDT

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A 19-year-old has been identified as the suspect arrested in connection with the weekend shooting in downtown Augusta, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.

Amazing Lee Blessed Brigham, 19, of Hephzibah, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a gun during the commission of a crime, according to the GBI.

News 12 had previously reported his name after family members told us he’d been injured in the shooting.

The GBI on Monday confirmed he is a suspect.

What happened?

Around 1:15 a.m. Saturday at 10th and Broad streets, GBI said three Richmond County deputies were working off-duty jobs at the restaurant Sole.

At this time, deputies heard multiple gunshots.

When they got on the scene, they encountered a man outside of the restaurant holding an assault pistol.

Two of the three deputies shot at the suspect, hitting him at least once.

GBI says two other bystanders were also hit by gunfire. The suspect, along with the two bystanders, were taken to a local hospital and treated for their injuries.

After further investigation, it was revealed the gunfire outside of the restaurant was between the suspect and multiple other unidentified individuals.

This gunfight covered an area of two to three blocks.

GBI said it is unknown what started the fight that led to the gunfight.

Multiple weapons were recovered at the crime scene, as well as other evidence of the crime, including seven vehicles that were hit by gunfire.

Several businesses sustained damage from several gunshots.

People told News 12 they heard what sounded like 100 gunshots. Roundtree said he couldn’t comment on the number of rounds, but said it was a “massive amount.”

The GBI is conducting an independent investigation.

Once complete, the case file will be given to the Augusta District Attorney’s Office for review.

DOWNTOWN SHOOTING: TEAM COVERAGE
Downtown shooting was bound to happen, business owners warn

The owners of several businesses on Broad Street say they’re tired of airing safety concerns but seeing nothing done about it.

19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (1)

‘I could have died that night’: Downtown shooting spawns chaos

When gunfire broke out in downtown Augusta early Saturday, it was a scene of “chaos,” witnesses said. They're thankful to have lived through it.

19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (2)

Is Augusta safe? Local officials say yes, but state is sending some help

Three local leaders go before cameras to insist downtown Augusta is safe. Still, the mayor asked for extra law enforcement help from the state.

19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (3)

Augusta is spared from becoming the site of another mass shooting

The sheriff says downtown shooting could have easily become a mass shooting. Luckily, it wasn’t, and Augustans are counting their blessings.

19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (4)

Was anyone killed?

No one was killed, but three people were injured, including the gunman, who was shot by deputies.

All three suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening and officials said they were stable Saturday afternoon.

A young woman said her two brothers were shot. She said Brigham and 23-year-old Seven Whitfield were taken to a hospital. Whitfield was released from the hospital and is not a suspect, the young woman said.

Brigham’s mother told News 12 she hadn’t been able to see her son Saturday but authorities told her he was stable.

He’s the person who was identified as a suspect on Monday.

It could have been worse

Considering the number of bullets and the number of people around, it could have been worse.

Roundtree credits the quick action of the deputies, who were working special duty at a nearby business.

“I cannot stress the magnitude of the intervention of our deputies. There is no doubt that without swift and heroic efforts to neutralize a heavily armed gunman, the potential for massive loss of life was extremely great,” Roundtree said.

He called the incident a senseless and brazen act of violence and a “total disregard for public safety in yet another act of violence on Richmond County.”

The investigation

The deputies were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in a situation like this.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting in this investigation, which is also routine for an officer-involved shooting.

Roundtree asked that members of the public who have information or video from the incident contact the GBI or his office.

Shooting sparked chaos

Phil Ramey was at Garden City Social when the shots rang out. People started running.

“A little bit of screaming. Everybody’s rushing to the front. It’s a small doorway, so I don’t think anybody got trampled, but people were pushing and shoving and elbows are being thrown – you know, kind of chaos. Chaos,” he said.

“Once the club starts rushing to one side, you leave,” he said. “It’s almost like a big wave. You feel it happen real quick.”

He said when they got outside, the scene was more calm, and much of the attention seemed to be focused in front of Solè restaurant.

When the shooting happened, Joshua Harris and Amy Sparent were at nearby Solè restaurant.

“It was just everyone rushing, like the manager was getting us out of there. And, yeah, there was this man. He was just telling us we need to get out. And, like, literally pushing us out just to get to safety,” Harris said.

On the sidewalk in front of Solè on Saturday morning, there were shoes that had come off people’s feet as well as jewelry that had been dropped in the rush to get away.

Alonzo Butler was also nearby when the shooting started.

“My friend was telling me ... he was like, ‘You know, the bullet went right across you,’ and I was like, ‘What?’” he said.

“I could have died that night.”

He had mixed emotions.

“What I felt was anger, and I was disappointed,” he said.

19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (5)

19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (6)19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (7)19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (8)19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (9)19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (10)

Is downtown safe?

“I am extremely disappointed in the level of violence and the level of lawlessness that occurs in our downtown quarter late in the evening,” Mayor Garnett Johnson said.

Yet he said downtown is “overwhelmingly” safe.

However, he reached out to Gov. Brian Kemp to get some additional resources in patrolling the downtown area, especially late at night. That help was granted through the Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Department of Natural Resources, according to officials.

Roundtree said there was already an increased presence of officers in the area, and the help from the state will bolster that presence at least through the summer.

Augusta Commission member Jordan Johnson also said downtown is safe. However, “we’re not going to yield our downtown to people who want to do bad things,” he said.

On Saturday night, there did seem to be a law enforcement presence on Broad Street. News 12 drove along the thoroughfare between 10 and 11 p.m. Saturday, and we saw:

  • A white unmarked Chevy Impala with blue lights on parked in front of Dirty Boots.
  • A deputy parked in front of the Firestone Auto Shop.
  • A Richmond County Sheriff’s Office car parked at Broad and 12th streets.
  • Some patrol cars in front of Smoke Shop.
  • A Georgia State Patrol car; the trooper had a woman in handcuffs.

Will this affect business?

Mayor Johnson said he’s heard from business owners that they want a safer downtown, and he pledged to make that happen.

At a news conference Saturday, 20 to 25 business owners confronted Roundtree with complaints and questions, especially about young people loitering. One told the sheriff that he doesn’t get a response from deputies when he calls 911.

By Saturday afternoon when the crime tape had been taken down, downtown had plenty of foot traffic.

And by Saturday evening, downtown was busy, parking was slim and restaurants had customers, although people told us business wasn’t as robust as a normal Saturday.

Everyone was being super-cautious, Airrie Henschell, a server told us at Mellow Mushroom on Saturday.

Her pockets were taking a hit, too.

“Bills are not getting paid,” she said.

Aris Reed, co-owner of Lenox on Tenth, said the jury is still out.

“I really can’t tell,” Reed said.

“I can’t say that we’ve seen too much of an influx or an effect on our business,” she said Saturday.

The shooting is not a reflection of Augusta, though, she said.

“It’s very welcoming,” she said, calling it a “really great community.”

Still, the downtown community is left shattered like the windows the bullets took out early Saturday.

“The one thing that we’re kind of disheartened about is the reputation of downtown Augusta just gets smeared when occurrences like this happen,” she said.

Was this a mass shooting?

This doesn’t fit the definition of a mass shooting, but it easily could have become one, Roundtree said.

Mass shootings are on the rise in the U.S., and Augusta hasn’t been spared from the trend.

A mass shooting in May 2023 killed two people and injured others at an Augusta motorcycle club on East Boundary. Investigators found 150 shell casings at that scene after what authorities say was a dispute between motorcycle groups.

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

U.S. MASS SHOOTINGS IN 2024:

CNN reported that last year, the country saw 655 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 2021 saw an even higher number: 689.

Between 2019 and 2020, the overall gun homicide rate rose about 35%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CNN reported that the archive shows mass shootings especially increased after May 2020, following the trend of an overall rise in gun violence during the pandemic.

MORE | S.C. body in unmarked grave identified as man missing since 1975

Team coverage by News 12 staff members including Audrey Dickherber, Hallie Turner, Jada Walker, Sydney Hood, Will Rioux, Nick Proto, Zayna Haliburton, Ashley Campbell, Estelle Parsley, Aaron Wilson, Mikel Hannah-Harding, Gary Pikula, Steve Byerly and Lois White.

Copyright 2024 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

19-year-old suspect ID’d in downtown Augusta shooting (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 6271

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Birthday: 1996-12-09

Address: Apt. 141 1406 Mitch Summit, New Teganshire, UT 82655-0699

Phone: +2296092334654

Job: Technology Architect

Hobby: Snowboarding, Scouting, Foreign language learning, Dowsing, Baton twirling, Sculpting, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Francesca Jacobs Ret, I am a innocent, super, beautiful, charming, lucky, gentle, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.