'We will not stand for this': Mayor fights back tears talking about killings
When Warner Robins Councilman Mike Davis walked into the post office Tuesday, someone approached him with a request.
"A woman stopped and said 'Mr. Councilman, I want to pray with you,''" Davis said.
So they prayed together right there for divine guidance as the city copes with three homicides — possibly by the same person — in the past two weeks.
Shortly after that Davis attended a news conference at the Law Enforcement Center, where Police Chief Brett Evans and Mayor Randy Toms talked about the homicides and the impact on the city. Toms, fighting back tears at times, said he is considering asking City Council members to lift the ban on city employees carrying guns on the job or in city vehicles.
One of the homicide victims, 28-year-old Vincent Junior, was a public works employee for the city, although he was not on the job when it happened. Two others were employees at a convenience store and a restaurant, shot dead during armed robberies.
Toms also encouraged residents to get a gun carry permit and safety training on the use of a firearm.
"We need to stand up for our city and let those criminal-minded individuals know that we will fight for the safety of our community and the safety of our families, and we are serious about it," Toms said.
Davis, like Toms, is a retired city firefighter. He said he has some reservations about city employees carrying guns, but that he would support lifting the ban.
"I’m dang tired of being a sitting duck," he said. "It’s time that we took back our community, and whatever it takes I’m going to support."
Toms said after the meeting that if he moves forward with asking the council to lift the ban, the proposal wouldn't be voted on until the next council meeting on Feb. 5.
A majority of council members were present at the news conference, and the city had announced the prospect of a meeting to approve reward money for information in the slayings. The meeting wasn't held, though, because it was decided to contribute up to $5,000 to the reward fund, which is within the mayor's authorized spending limit.
So far, the killings don't seem to have generated a rush on gun buying. At Chuck's Gun & Pawn, not far from City Hall and the Law Enforcement Center, employees said they were not seeing an increase in business.