Hinesville Police Chief addresses concerns surrounding weekend shooting

Crime & Safety

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – The Hinesville Police Chief is addressing concerns about a recent shooting in a typically quiet neighborhood.

Officials say a Fort Stewart soldier was shot in the arm early Saturday morning at a house party on Pineland Avenue. The soldier, who has not been identified, was treated for the injury and released.

Some neighbors say the hosts of the party hold gatherings every weekend, and they are fearful these incidents may continue.

But Hinesville Police Chief Bill Kirkendall says just the opposite.

“It is somewhat rare for this neighborhood to have this type of activity ongoing,” Kirkendall said. “We don’t anticipate any further incidents at this location.”

Kirkendall says his officers checked out the party a few hours before the shooting during their routine patrols.

“They did what they were supposed to do. They got out of the car, they walked around, checked on everything, the party seemed to be under control,” the chief explained. “Certainly, citizens are allowed to have get-togethers at their homes. It was nothing unusual.

“They went ahead and got back in their cars, and they left.”

Two hours later the shooting occurred.

“This is something that occurred as a result of a get-together. Probably a disagreement there at the party,” Kirkendall said, adding, “This is not something that occurred at random in the City of Hinesville.”

Ricky Barnett, a Hinesville resident, was identified as a person of interest in the case and arrested for giving officers a false name. Kirkendall says a firearm was seized from Barnett and he was booked in Liberty County Jail and released on $650 bond.

But, at this point, the chief says they are not sure if that firearm was used in the shooting.

“We just don’t know. We don’t have enough evidence to charge him with any additional crimes at this time,” Kirkendall said.

As for neighbors’ concerns of ongoing parties, the chief says this is the first his department has responded to one.

“If it’s going on, no one has reported it to police. We have not received any calls from this location about any incidents going on,” Kirkendall said. “The last call we had about loud music or a party was in December 2018. 

“So it’s not something going on every weekend that we’re aware of. We patrol that area quite frequently.”

The chief said if further incidents occur, they will respond and take appropriate action.

Contributions to this report made by Lewis Levine, Coastal News Service

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