Bibb Sheriff “This is some trying times for our community.”
Marlon Williams was playing a gaming machine at The Wash Pot at Anthony Road and Mason Street when a robber came inside to rob another man. Williams, 44, was shot dead in a spray of bullets while he was fleeing down Mason Street about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Ann Kathleen Leonard, a 75-year-old retired school teacher, was in her Vining Circle home when a bullet in the same eruption of gunfire traveled 315 yards from parallel Mason Street through the car port and a window to strike her dead in her kitchen.
Both were innocent bystanders caught up in gun violence that is erupting in that area of Macon, said Bibb County Sheriff David Davis, who called a news conference Tuesday.
Additionally, a homeless man picking up cans was robbed and shot Monday night, Davis said.
"There's an element of pure-out meanness going on here and a level of evilness that we see," Davis said.
To address the violence, Davis announced that the agency's Neighborhood Redemption Program will be concentrated in the Mason Street-area and surrounding neighborhoods.
A crime analysis map showed as many as 122 violent crimes in the area targeted by law enforcement. The Unionville neighborhood and Houston and Napier avenues are included in the targeted area.
In addition to officers assigned to the program, other officers will be pulled from other duties to help with the concentrated crime suppression effort, Davis said.
"The cavalry’s coming," Davis said.
Since its inception in October, the Neighborhood Redemption Program has resulted in 200 people being arrested and hundreds of guns coming off the streets, Davis said.
Warren Selby Jr., chairman of the Macon Regional Crimestoppers board of directors, stood with the sheriff, urging members of the public to come forward with what they know about crimes committed.
Both Davis and Selby talked about problems facing law enforcement from shortages of officers to "AR-15" assault-type weapons meant for the battlefield now on the streets.
Bibb County has 640 sworn law enforcement officers, but the agency has 80 vacancies, Davis said.
Additionally, officers are faced on the street with pellet guns that look semi-automatic rifles.
Gun owners are urged to secure their weapons so they don't get stolen and put on the streets. Community members are encouraged to take precautions to keep their homes secure, report what they see and hear, join Neighborhood Watch programs and other church-based or community initiatives.
Additionally, parents were encouraged to raise up their children right.