2 killed, 4 hurt in shooting at motorcycle club event in Georgia
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT/Gray News) - A weekend shooting left two dead and four others injured Saturday evening stemmed from a dispute between two motorcycle clubs, Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree said in a news conference on Monday.
Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen identified those who died as Keith Coates, 30, of Valdosta, and Germayne Farrell, 51, of Daytona Beach, Florida.
Roundtree said this shooting adds Augusta to the list of over 280 mass shootings seen so far in 2023.
“Gun violence has risen nationwide this year, and sadly, Augusta is not exempt,” said Roundtree.
The shooting occurred at the clubhouse of the Outcast Motorcycle Club and involved members of that club and the rival Thug Riders.
Roundtree says 10 suspects were arrested and charged with two counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault. Three are still receiving treatment, including Deja Dotson and Jonathan Keaton, who have arrest warrants issued. Only one suspect has a local address.
Roundtree says the city hosted the Augusta Air Show and Mayfest, and several Thug Rider members attended before traveling to the Outcast clubhouse.
“We didn’t know that trouble was coming to our city. We didn’t know that trouble was already in our city,” he said.
The suspects range in age from 44 to 26, and hailed from Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. Four suspects were a part of the Outcast Motorcycle Club, and eight were Thug Riders.
Roundtree confirmed a fire vehicle ran over a dead body on the scene. He said fire personnel did not see the person, and the agency has a traffic report that is not yet available for release.
“To bring this type 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. That is why each individual who is involved or we feel to be involved or has any part in this will face charges,” he said.
He says there was no lack of police presence in the city. Roundtree said they had more deputies on the roads because they were leaving two events.
At least 20 officers were on the scene, and he said you could hear gunfire from a few blocks away.
“While this incident of violence is horrific, and many of the other tragic incidents that have occurred in this country and will still occur ... my light will continue to push forward in the confidence that I have in the men and women of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Richmond County,” said Roundtree.
Investigators found more than 150 shell casings on the scene. Roundtree says this was an “extremely large scene,” and kids were playing outside in a neighborhood right down the street.
“With 150 rounds, I’m sure it was more than two individuals,” he said.
Officials said they believe people from Florida traveled three to four hours to engage in the targeted attack. They believe it stemmed from a recent incident that started in Florida, but additional information on that wasn’t released.
In response to the shooting, regional affiliates with the clubs were mobilizing to retaliate again in Augusta, Roundtree said. The sheriff’s office briefed Mayor Garnett Johnson and other city officials about the potential threat of another major shooting. The sheriff says there’s still an ongoing threat, but they’re prepared.
“We continue to monitor this situation in real-time, and we will advise the public of any confirmed threat if they develop,” said Roundtree.
He said 13 motorcycles were taken into evidence, along with one car and 10 firearms. Weapons were found inside the clubhouse, vehicles and nearby businesses from when the suspects fled the scene.
One Richmond County patrol car was also hit in the shooting.
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