Shootings around Statesboro cause concern

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  • Photo courtesy of:

Cydney Long


Georgia Southern University’s Homecoming night wrapped up with gunshots fired at three separate locations around Statesboro, all occurring between 1 and 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

GSU students were not notified of the incidents via Eagle Alert because Eagle and Campus Alerts are sent out for incidents happening specifically on campus, Chief Michael Russell, director of public safety, said.

“If there’s a shooting three miles away at a club that is not usually frequented by students, the campus is in no danger,” Russell said. “I’m not going to assume the student population or the campus community is in danger.”

University Police did not receive confirmation of the incident at Cook Out before the Statesboro Police Department (SPD) handled the situation.

“Although it’s the city – and we get along really well with them – we don’t get that information in a timely manner,” Russell said. “It’s never been intended to be used to notify students of things that happen in someone else’s jurisdiction.”

The shootings Sunday morning were an example of the University Police’s policy on sending Eagle Alerts about incidents outside of their jurisdiction.

At 1 a.m., the SPD responded to an aggravated assault with a gun at The Platinum Lounge, where officers were already inside the building dealing with a large fight, according SPD incident reports.

By the time the SPD arrived, the unknown black male with the handgun had fled the scene as well as any possible victims.

The second fight and shooting of the night occurred at Cook Out at 1:46 a.m.

Deputy John Quattlebaum was on scene and reported a shot fired into the air but did not see a vehicle or direction of travel, according to an incident report.

Police then searched the parking lot for shell casings but did not find any, according to the report.

An aggravated assault and homicide occurred at Primetime Lounge at 2:30 a.m., according to a news release from the SPD.

Johnnie L. Benton, 25, from Rincon, Ga., is deceased. Jamal Heard, 21, from Rincon, Ga., is in stable condition after being transported to Savannah.

Lauren Gorla contributed to this report.