According to authorities, shots were fired at a gas station in a Georgia city bordering Alabama, injuring nine kids, including a 5-year-old child.
When Columbus police officers arrived at the scene at about 10 p.m. on Friday, they discovered numerous gunshot victims amidst a sizable crowd.
Police Chief Freddie Blackmon said at a news conference Saturday that an altercation occurred at a nearby party, and it spilled over to the gas station when the shooting began. Further details were not provided, but Blackmon said the incident remained under investigation.
“I am committed to assuring you that we will find the person or persons responsible for this senseless crime,” he said. Detectives have spoken to witnesses, some of whom are cooperating, according to Blackmon, while others are not.
“I encourage anyone with information to contact the police. I encourage parents whose child was injured in this incident to ensure that any information they share with them is shared with the police. We will work around the clock to resolve this case,” he said.
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The victims, whose names were not released, ranged in age from 5 to 17. Seven males and two females were hurt, police said. As of Saturday afternoon, at least four had been discharged from hospitals where they were treated, Blackmon said. None of the injuries, according to the authorities, seemed life-threatening.
Blackmon urged parents in the community to “know where your children are and what they have in their possession.” “We must work toward helping communicate to our children how to peacefully resolve conflict without resorting to gun violence,” he said.
“I’m so grateful to God that we didn’t have anyone lose their life,” Mayor B.H. “Skip” Henderson III said. “I’m tired of seeing folks having a disagreement or argument or maybe even a fistfight who then think they have to reach for a gun. That’s just got to stop. We’ve got to find a way in the community to reclaim our young people.”
No one has been arrested, and Blackmon didn’t say if investigators have identified any suspects. Columbus is about 85 miles (137 kilometers) east of Montgomery, Alabama, and about 110 miles (177 kilometers) southwest of Atlanta.