SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — As crowds flooded Savannah to celebrate Independence Day, a weekend of violence persisted.
“It’s a tale of two Savannah’s,” Mayor Van Johnson said of his split time joining crowds to celebrate the Fourth of July and visiting shooting scenes.
Johnson said he felt relief seeing neighborhoods come alive again during the holiday as well as businesses packed with customers.
Although he was happy to see large crowds, Johnson said he was concerned with the rising Delta COVID-19 variant, considering Chatham County’s low vaccination rate. For local vaccine information, click here.
“By no means does this mean we can dance in the endzone,” Johnson said.
While the Hostess City was welcoming residents and visitors during the holiday weekend, six shootings took place in various parts of the city. All six remain under investigation, with many reporting no suspects.
Johnson said the roots of each instance follow a trend he’s seen in recent shootings in Savannah.
“Black male suspects, Black male victims, who know each other and have some conflict with each other,” Johnson, who is a Black man, said. “It’s the same thing over and over again.”
“Community members are fed up with this madness,” Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter said of the violence over the weekend. Minter said residents who would usually watch out of the windows of their homes as police work crime scenes, are now meeting them at the scene to express concern.
Johnson and Minter both said they were concerned with reoccurring shootings at Avery Street. Minter said police are increasing their presence there and working with the housing authority of Savannah to address issues, particularly in that area.
“We realize that this is at least the third shooting that we’ve had over there and we’ve got to address this,” Minter said. “We don’t want to have another one.”
Johnson also encouraged residents to keep an eye out on Tropical Storm Elsa and weather alerts. He also encouraged residents to avoid flood areas and create or review emergency plans. To stay up to date on WSAV Storm Team 3’s forecast for Tropical Storm Elsa, click here.
Watch the full press conference below.