Family and friends remembered a Macon teenager tonight... killed by what police call... gang violence last week.
Tom George was there as mourners plead for an end to the shootings.
My friend Antonio Flewellen he was killed, Deondre, he was killed.. I know a lot of people throughout that've been killed for gang violence>
For 22-year old Laquita Mack, the vigil routine is all too familiar... The Candles, the balloons, this time for her friend, 17-year old Jammoni Bland.
cute face, pretty smile, and just alive and upbeat .. He was nice, he was good boy, he wasm't no bad person at all.>
Bland was shot 5 times at close range outside the Zodiac Nightclub last Friday..
The suspects in the case have been charged with gang-related crimes.
A problem has some scared...
When is it gonna stop. How many young children have to do die
What makes you worried? Cause everytime you turn around it's shooting and this and that. Folk don't have to do that live like that just put the guns away>
And they gathered to say enough is enough..
No gang activity? No gang activity? That's what I'm talking about right here..
It's the same message Mack's too many times before.
I'm skepitcal, it'll change but it really won't change if they keep having the same mentality to go out and kill over a color over a side of town then it really won't change>
At least not before Mack has to add another name to her list...
One two three ..... Jomani
In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
Macon police have arrested three people in last week's fatal shooting of a 17-year-old.. But they're still looking for five others.
A magistrate judge today denied bond for one of the suspects.... Miranda Pettiway.
Police say she admitted driving the getaway car after Andre Bonner... Who's accused of shooing Jammoni Bland five times.
Pettiway and Bonner are both charged with murder... criminal attempt to commit murder... and participation in Criminal Street Gang Activity.
A second suspect was also in Pettiway's car.
He is John Hollingshed... who allegedly shot Deion Davis eight times that morning.
Police say Pettiway... Bonner... and Hollingshed are tied to a gang known as the "mafia."
Bonner is in the Bibb County jail... and is scheduled to make a first appearance before a magistrate judge tomorrow.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert says the zodiac lounge shooting -- and its teenage victim... brings up a problem the city has been battling... Youth violence.
In 2011... he and former police chief Mike Burns put together a seven-step plan... And presented it to city council.
They asked for permission to hire six new police officers.
They planned to partner with schools and the religious community.
The city's office of Workforce Development would promote jobs and education.
Instead of six new officers... City Council allowed police to hire one civilian... to spearhead crime-prevention projects.
Last year... Reichert said police did several truancy sweeps at schools and met with ministers to talk about ways to help.
Bibb County schools also hired career coaches.
Reichert says the city needs to focus more on prevention... Not just enforcement.
we've got to have more programs and more participation by churches, by schools, by neighborhood associations, by neighborhood watch, and by parents and family members to step up and help us do something. It is not a police problem, it is a community problem. And it is not just in Macon, it is throughout the country.
Even though we have this most recent homicide in Macon... youth homicide numbers across the nation have dropped... according to the CDC.
The findings were released today.
They reflect a decline in murders and other crimes over the past twenty years.
The homicide rate for older children and young adults is the lowest in 30 years.
The homicide rate for victims between the ages of 10 and 24 dropped by more than half since 1993.
That's when crimes were tied to an explosion in drug crimes.
Teens make up almost one third of all homicide victims.
A Macon-Bibb firefighter is recovering... After being hit by a car while working an accident scene.
It happened this morning on I-75 north near the Sardis Church Road exit in South Bibb County.
Sgt. Eric John and three others were working on the scene of an overturned car.
As they prepared to clear it... John was talking with a deputy in the left hand emergency lane.
A car driving north swerved into the lane and hit him.
It was driven by 18-year old Nayef Shrouf of Warner Robins
Shrouf was questioned by Bibb Sheriff's... But was not charged.
Sgt. John has been a firefighter for more than 20 years.
He is now listed in stable condition.
A former central Georgia star... turned pro... Is in trouble with the law.
Alfonzo Dennard from the New England Patriots was pulled over in Lincoln Nebraska early this morning... Where he played defensive back.
The Lincoln Police say he was taken to a detox center... but not charged with drunk driving.
He is accused of refusing a chemical test and a driving infraction.
Earlier this year... He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of probation... For assaulting a police officer in Lincoln.
Dennard was the quarterback on the 2007 Class A runner up team from Wilcox County.
One Central Georgia College hopes returning veterans want to go back to school.
Fort Valley State University will host an information session tomorrow night.
It's primarily for those who served in the military.. And didn't attend or didn't finish college.
The session will talk to veterans about programs available at FVSU.
It will also discuss ways to pay for college... like the post 9-11 G-I Bill.
Anna Holloway... with textended education at the university... says they have a lot of support for students who are also veterans..
That includes state programs like Complete College Georgia... And an on campus military resource coordinator.
The session will be 4 to 7 p.m. tomorrow at F-V-S-U's Warner Robins Campus on Osigian Boulevard.
It's geared toward veterans 25-years-old... And up.
Crawford County has shortened the school year for students.. And changed it's first day of school.
According to a message from the district.. The changes come due to extreme state budget cuts.
The first day for students will now be Tuesday.. September 3rd.
That's a little more than two weeks later than usual.
Crawford students typically go back to class in mid-august.
State regulators say Georgia Power should add more solar energy to its system.
A member of the Public Service Commission proposed the change.
She says solar energy costs have come down.
Critics say more solar energy will cause rates to go up.
Here's what a solar grid looks like.
This one is located in Dublin... Constructed by a company called (MA-gay) Mage Solar.
The PSC wants solar panels operated by Georgia Power to produce 525 megawatts a year.
That's about 5 percent of Georgia Power's total capacity.
The Central Services Department in Macon... Put their new home on display today.
The city held an open house this afternoon... For the new facility at one-thousand seventh street
The new building contains some of the old materials... because they salvaged some during construction.
The old facility was torn down... To make room for future development on Riverside Drive.
Macon skate boarders may get new place to spin their wheels.
People met tonight at the Rosa Parks Community Center.. To talk about plans for a new skate park.
Right now... Central City Skate park is the only skating option.
It's open seventeen hours a week.
The county is considering building a new one.
Skaters came to voice their opinions about the design.
If Bibb County moves ahead with the plans... It's supposed to be finished this year.
<we're just gonna discuss what we want to see in the park, and how we want it designed and constructed. Everyone's shooting for an outdoor, public, concrete skate park.>
According to Doc Dougherty, bibb county parks and rec director... The county plans to put atleast 200-thousand dollars toward the new park.
Welcome back. We take a look at the top headlines and the biggest stories in your nation and your world...
Investigators continue to look at the crash of the Boeing 777 in San Francisco this past weekend. The parents of the teenage victims visited the site today... as the National transportation board prepared to close its ground investigation. Crews began to clean up the wreckage today. The airport is operating, but the runway where the crash happened remains closed.
We cross borders into Canada... Where the death toll from an oil explosion has risen. Authorities say there are 20 who are confirmed dead... But they expect to find more among the 30 who are missing. They investigate the crash a a criminal act. The train engineer has been suspended without pay from the accident. The engineer claims to have activated all eleven locks... Before the train rolled backwards... And over 70 tanks of crude oil exploded in the small town close to the U-S canadian border with Maine.
The trial of George Zimmerman prepares for jury deliberation tomorrow. The judge ruled that they may consider the lesser charge of manslaughter in the case. Earlier today... the prosecution delivered its closing statements to the six jurors and two alternates.
"hold on it was even more dangerous, because you know why? This defendant, as you heard, has studied the law in terms of what's required for self-defense and he's got all those bullet points in terms of what's required." The defense will present closing arguments tomorrow. Zimmerman's case captures the nation... Because it centers on a stand your ground law that is similar in over twenty states...including Georgia.
And those are your headlines for Thursday July 11, 2013.
In state news... Atlanta's Public transportation System has received high praise from the Transportation Security Agency.
The TSA awarded MARTA its gold standard during a security assessment... Which is the agency's highest rating.
The Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement is a voluntary review of the TSA's security programs... Including training drills... Background checks... public outreach initiatives and more.
MARTA is one of 16 agencies that achieved the gold standard.
The ferris wheel at SkyView Atlanta is almost complete.
Workers installed gondolas today... That can hold up to six people.
This video was taken this morning as the wheel is under construction.
The park was supposed to open this weekend... But weather delayed construction.
The park is going to be a new addition to the Atlanta skyline.
There are plans to make this a bigger project than it already is.
It presents a unique view of the area. When you're down here with kids they're going to see it and they're going to want to take part in it. And there are going to be things we do over time, I can't announce yet what, but there will be things we do that are going to make this even more than just a giant ferris wheel.
The new park is scheduled to open next Tuesday.