Broad Street shooting victim says First Friday should be shut do - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Broad Street shooting victim says First Friday should be shut down

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"I've been hearing about first Friday," said Jenea Simmons, one of the victims in Friday's Broad Street shooting. "but by me going down there and experiencing it myself, they should close it down. They shouldn't have it."

Jenea, 17, will spend the rest of the summer on the sofa. She was partying with friends downtown after the First Friday event.

 "All of a sudden we started to hear gun shots," Janea said. "I ran I'd say about two or three inches and I fell at the edge of the curb." 

Jenea was one of six people shot; all non-life threatening injuries. The incident led downtown residents and business owners along Broad Street to call for an end to First Friday. It's an event that's been going on for years and started off as a way for merchants to bring customers downtown. It officially ends at 9 p.m., but crowds hang around after hours.

"Getting rid of First Friday wouldn't solve that problem," said Mike Sleeper, President of the Greater Augusta Arts Council, the organizing group of First Friday. "I still think those events; those issues would still happen whether you have the First Friday event or not. So it would be a shame to lose that, and still have that kind of problem."

Now community leaders are taking action. Monday morning, the mayor, commissioners and Richmond County Sheriff Strength met to discuss how they'll control the activities after First Friday.

"Right now the sheriff doesn't manage it, the city doesn't manage it," said Commissioner Matt Aitken. "The Arts Council kind of handles that and now we have to lay out some structures and guidelines."

City leaders say they're just in the beginning stages of addressing the incident to turn downtown back into an area people can enjoy. But changes they make won't convince victims of the shooting to go back.

"If they don't, I'm still not going to go," Janea said. "I don't care. They won't see Jenea down there no more."

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