Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree Monday declared children to be “off limits” at a press conference to update reporters on the search for whomever killed an 8-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting on Saturday, Jan. 8.
“I cannot and I will not accept the fact that no one knows who the suspects are,” the sheriff said. “There are individuals in this community who knew why they were there, knew what they were there for and knew who they were. Yet, they have failed to come forward with this information.”
Ideally, said Roundtree, the suspects will turn themselves in. He admitted gun violence has been an issue in parts of Augusta, but he said children are off-limits.
“All gun violence is senseless, but I think these are cowards, these individuals,” Roundtree said. “This is an 8-year-old little girl who was shot in the head in her own front yard. You don’t get a pass on this.”
The search continues for a vehicle believed to be used in the drive-by shooting that left 8-year-old Arbrie Anthony dead. The shooting that occurred at 2029 Third Ave. Roundtree also released information regarding the likely suspect vehicle.
“We obtained video that verify that the shots came from a newer model, reddish-orange Jeep Compass Trailhawk,” the sheriff said, adding, “They had the large black stripe across the hood and on the top of the vehicle.”
Roundtree said it appeared two were individuals in the vehicle. The shots came from the passenger side of the Jeep.
When deputies arrived at the scene at 7:25 Saturday evening, they were told the young girl had been taken to Augusta University Medical Center by private vehicle.
The sheriff said authorities do not believe this shooting was random.
“Absolutely, we do not. This is the place where individuals gather frequently based on the social tools that were present; chairs, fire barrel… So, this is the community gathering,” Roundtree said. “We are following up leads that may have some association with some retaliatory incidents that happened prior to this that may involve gangs. But until I find exactly why this individual location was targeted, we don’t want to confirm that or get locked in on one particular scenario.”
The sheriff said two men on horseback that had visited the area in the past to let children pet the horses were there when the shooting occurred. One of the horses was shot and later died on Sunday, Jan. 9. Law enforcement personnel are waiting for that slug to be recovered from the horse’s body.
A car in front of the apartment was also hit by gunfire. The sheriff said between five and 10 rounds were fired.
Roundtree said anyone with information about the shooting or who knows the whereabouts of the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, should call 706-821-1080 or 706-821-1020. Calls can be made anonymously.
Anthony was a student at Jenkins-White Elementary School. Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Arbrie Leigh Anthony.” As the school community mourns her loss, grief counselors and support resources will be available at Jenkins-White Elementary School. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with her family, friends and all who knew her during this difficult time.”