Mayor Edmondson announces gun buyback, other crime prevention initiatives

Published 6:30 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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The City of LaGrange held a press conference at the LaGrange Police Department on Friday afternoon to address the ongoing violence within the community.

Mayor Willie Edmondson said he called the press conference after hearing the news of a shooting at the LaGrange Housing Authority.

“Last night while sitting in a celebration where we were honoring our firefighters and police officers, I received a text that we had some shooting in our community. Masked young men got out of an automobile and shot several rounds,” Edmondson said. “Fortunately, no one was hit. No one was injured but there were children, there were senior adults there and other people in that community.”

Police later confirmed that about 40 shots were fired during the incident. Miraculously, no one was hurt but there was extensive property damage. The incident is believed to be gang-related.

“We want everyone to know that enough is enough. The violence has to stop in our city,” Edmondson said.

After discussions with Police Chief Garrett Fiveash and City Manager Meg Kelsey, Edmondson announced a few initiatives to help fight crime within the city.

Firstly, Edmondson said they are asking community members if they see something, say something. He said the recent murder at Sunny Point Access was solved and an arrest was quickly made because someone was willing to step up and provide information.

“It was all because people were helping people. People were talking,” Edmondson said.

Edmondson asked people to call Troup County Crime Stoppers if they have information on criminal activity, noting calls can be anonymous. Crime Stoppers can be reached locally at (706) 812-1000.

Secondly, Edmondson said the city will be hosting a gun buyback on Oct. 12 at the LaGrange Police Department. The mayor said details on the event have not been finalized — including compensation for the firearms.

“We want to prevent firearm violence by reducing the stock of firearms in our community,” Edmondson said.

Lastly, Edmondson said the LaGrange Police Department is also planning to create a youth violence prevention program for young people to learn there are alternatives to violence.

Fiveash said that he has been working with LPD personnel about developing the program to start working with youth in the community. He said they are reaching out to local resources, and local advocates to start generating help from within the community.

Fiveash said the goal is not only to keep youth out of violence but to facilitate a relationship between the police department and the community.

The police chief said they are also stepping up patrol and traffic enforcement.

“You’ve seen a lot of blue lights flashing here recently. You will continue to see those blue lights flashing until the criminal element in the city figures out that they need to go somewhere else to do their business,” Fiveash said.

Fiveash explained that enforcement of smaller crimes like window tint violations or other traffic violations helps to solve and prevent other more serious crimes. He noted that the suspect from the recent murder drove to the location in a vehicle with dark-tinted windows.

Fiveash said the upcoming gun buyback will be held at the police department on Oct. 12 from 12 noon to 8 p.m.

“We’ll be doing an announcement with all the details about how you can get those weapons to us and how we’ll be taking them off your hands as well as the compensation that we’ll be providing for you bringing the weapon in,” Fiveash said.