As investigators continued Friday to seek the person who shot an 18-year-old man to death on Dec. 26 at Selden Park, Glynn County Police Chief Jacques Battiste likened the case as a litmus test in the department’s efforts to establish public trust.
Amondrick Tijuane Roberts died that Sunday night when an argument involving numerous young men erupted into gunfire at the county park. Roberts had come to the defense of his brother during the argument and suffered a gunshot wound in the process, Battiste said Wednesday during an address to the county police advisory committee.
A young father, Roberts was transported to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital, where he died, police said.
In addition to the numerous witnesses on hand, police say some at the scene took cellphone video and photos of the deadly shootout.
County police received a call at about 12:43 a.m. Monday that the “murder suspect” in the fatal shooting was outside a home in the 3600 block of Burroughs Avenue, according to a police report. The caller was a relative who told police the man “was packing his belongings into a (vehicle) and planning to leave,” according to the report.
Police surrounded a home on nearby Burroughs Avenue at around 12:43 a.m. Dec. 27 after receiving the call. After staking out the residence, however, no suspect was located, the report said.
Police have made repeated public pleas for those with video or photos of the shooting to come forward, anonymously if need be. Police have made the same requests to the public for any information related to the shooting.
Despite the efforts of investigators, no one has come forward with leads needed to make arrests.
However, Battiste told the panel Wednesday that public cooperation in the case is improving and results could be imminent.
“The investigation is still ongoing, with hopeful returns growing the more we appeal to the public for additional assistance,” Battiste said. “They seem to be more concerned now with the investigation, so we may hopefully see a break in the case any day now.”
The fatal incident at Selden Park occurred hours after a massive shootout in the 1600 block of Albany Street at around 2 a.m. on Dec. 26. A hail of gunfire from numerous gunmen struck homes and vehicles in the working class neighborhood surrounding the old Roxy theater, where a concert was wrapping up.
Fortunately, authorities said, no one was hurt in the reckless hail of gunfire.
Brunswick police found more than 70 bullet shells on the scene.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the Albany Street shooting, but no arrests have been made.
The two shootouts were among a rash of gunplay in December that involved incidents of drive-by gunfire in neighborhoods, including at least five shooting incidents reported that month in the county and at least 10 such shootings in Brunswick. No injuries were reported.
The shootings and other incidents, including a rise in auto thefts and auto break-ins, prompted Battiste to announce Jan. 6 the multi-agency Operation Safe Glynn initiative. The initiative will focus on county police reestablishing greater cooperation with neighboring agencies such as the Brunswick Police Department, the county sheriff’s office, county schools police and local state and federal law enforcement agents. It is centering patrols and investigative efforts in high-crime areas, while also making efforts toward more community policing and police outreach programs to gain the trust of law-abiding citizens in those communities, Battiste said.
“This is in retrospect a response to the increased incidents we’re seeing across Glynn County as a whole of gun violence, drugs, and just criminality as a general posture,” Battiste told the panel. “This initiative will be specifically designed and tailored to work throughout certain areas identified as high crime areas, to stem the tide in violence often involving teenagers and youth.”
Anyone with information in the Selden Park shooting is asked to call Silent Witness hotline at 912-264-1333, or the county police investigation division at 912-554-7817.