< I think that a 38 percent graduation rate is deplorable.>
The new interim head of Bibb County schools... Demands improvement at a high school with a graduation rate less than 40 percent.
I'm Lorra Lynch Jones.
Frank Malloy has the evening off.
We'll have more on that story in a moment... But first...
Our top story tonight... Police have identified the accused shooter in a killing over the weekend... at a wake.
Tom George spoke with family members who now have to grieve the loss of two loved ones.
I love them both...
Lechelle Moore and her family gathered at their house at Frederica Place Saturday night to say goodbye to her grandfather, Albert Moore, who died from lung cancer last week...
<we sat out there for hours talking about the memory of my granddaddy.>
Moore says, everyone, including family friend 35-year old Steven Johnson was there to pay their respects ... But around 2 a.m., she says her ex, 38-year old Quinton Jones came by the house and started an argument with her. By Moore's account, Johnson tried to step in.
< And he saw him arguing with me and he said this ain't the place...>
< Now when Quinton Jones came into the house, he actually signed the guestbook for Albert Moore's funeral ... >
It's the last thing he did before Moore says he shot Steven Johnson.
< He was going to shut that door, to go shut that door on the other side, he just opened up fire on him.>
She says Johnson got back up ... And Jones came back and shot him in the head.
< And when I grabbed him and he turned up and he looked at me, and I felt him just leave...>
She says the shooting happened in front of everyone, including young children.
As for Johnson, Moore told me, he died doing what her grandfather would have wanted.
< He told me, he said, you know granddaddy wanted for me to look out for you and that's what he did... >
When it was all over... Moore noticed Johnson's name missing from her grandfather's signature book.
But now instead of joining him at the funeral, she'll be planning a second.
<it hit so hard, so fast, I don't know how I can go on. >
In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
According to the Macon Police, Jones has 19 prior arrests.
If you have any information that could help police find Jones... You can call Macon Regional Crimestoppers 1-877-68-CRIME. Again that's 1-877-68-CRIME.
Now continuing coverage of the investigation into another shooting... This one last month outside the Zodiac Nightclub.
One of the nine suspects allegedly involved went before a judge today.
It was for a commitment hearing.
27-year old Arthur Freeman, the third was charged with participation in criminal street gang activity, and criminal attempt to commit murder.
That's for his alleged involvement in the shooting of Deion Davis.
The judge ruled there was enough evidence to move forward with the case.
Freeman's lawyer... Frank Hogue... argued there wasn't enough evidence for the attempted murder charge.
He said Davis didn't go to the club with the other suspects.
Hogue says there's a difference between being a gang member... and actually being the one who did the shooting.
< I asked the officer what additional evidence to you have to support the claim that Freeman is trying to kill Davis .. You know it's one thing to get into a fight in a nightclub. It's a totally different issue to say you're trying to kill him, especially when you're not the guy with the gun shooting him. >
The detective said Freeman held Davis in place... Keeping him from running away... After Davis was shot.
Freeman will remain in the Bibb County Jail without bond.
Macon police chased and caught a suspected bank robber today..
It happened around noon at State Bank on Shurling Drive in Macon.
A release from the department says a man entered the bank and approached the counter, demanded money... then left with the cash.
He never showed a weapon.
Officers quickly caught up with 38 year old Kyle Brice Clemons, arrested him and recovered the money.
He is in the Bibb County jail charged with robbery and probation violation.
Today buses once again lined the driveways in front of Bibb County Schools.... loaded with students embarking on new challenges and a new school year.
At Brookdale Elementary off Vineville avenue in Macon.... students filed into new classrooms with the supplies for the first day of school
And they weren't the only ones starting fresh... Kim Tolbert's (Tallbert) spent her first day on the job as Brookdale's new principal.
<And as such I will show them that I'm also a learner. We're excited about their first day, they've come in excited. They've come in with many many ideas and stories to tell. We're looking forward to not only a good first day but a great year.>
Not everyone started day one when the school bells sounded.
Some families began their Monday morning standing in registration lines.
Parents, grandparents and kids filled the Bibb County Schools Welcome Center to fill out different forms.
Antoinette Robinson needed to fill out change of address and registration forms for her son who is going into high school.
<why did you wait til today to do it? Because I just found out about it last Thursday and nobody sent no letters in the mail nothing letting us know that y'all doing this all summer. I just found out this morning that they were doing this all summer. >
The director of strategic partnerships for the welcome center... Kimberlyn Carter..says they've gone throughout the community to make people aware of the registration process.
She says this is the second year the district is doing centralized registration... and that most of the parents today filled out change of address forms.
<it is critical for students to start the school year on the first day. That's where you learn all the rituals and routines. That's where you get a chance to know what the expectations of the teacher of the principal and all that. >
Carter says this is the peak season for the welcome center.
Tonight, we're also showcasing your little ones and their back to school photos.
Find our photo gallery at 13WMAZ-dot-com... Under slideshows.
You can browse through some of the photos our viewers have submitted... And also follow a few simple steps to upload your own as your kids don their back to school finest and head out for bigger and better things.
The first day of school also marked the start of a new agenda for a new interim superintendent.
Elise Brown was there as Steve Smith made the rounds in Bibb County.
That's right, Lorra... And on his agenda today... One school that's high on his priority list.
That's Southwest High School.
According to its new principal Tanzy Gilcrease...in 2012 the schools graduation rate was 38 percent.
And interim superintendent Smith says...those numbers have to come up.
<and we do understand that we have a lot of work to do. I shared the data with the students this morning, the two groups that I met with I shared EOTC scores with them to show them the work that we have to do. And I told them that we will not have those scores again. Superintendent- I think 38 percent graduation rate is deplorable. I can't think of a worse graduation rate that I've ever heard of, so. But I do think there's some really good kids here that need some refocus and re-direction. I think that Dr. Gilchrist is gonna do just that.>
Sophomore Braxton Williams is in the school band.
Education is important to him...and plans on graduating on time by pushing himself.
He told me he's shocked by what the numbers say about the school's academic performance.
<the graduation rate, that kind of disturbed me a little bit, but I feel like the way our new administrator and how the school is changing that it will become better and all the things that are in place for us that it should go higher and higher everyday.,..every year. >
Gilcrease says the school is setting the expectations from day one.... and has a heavy emphasis on college readiness.
Thank you, Elise.
Principal Gilcrease also told us another key is... Making sure students understand graduation requirements...so they can adequately prepare and track their own progress.
In sports news tonight....Major League Baseball cracked down on 13 players this afternoon for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Courtney Lyle joins us now with more.
We knew it was coming Lorra, but today around three, the league handed out suspensions to 13 players... Including Yankees Star Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod has been the main focus of this investigation of the South Florida Biogenesis clinic.
Rodriguez got the biggest penalty because MLB says he obstructed their investigation.
He will have to sit out 211 games... That takes him out through the 20-14 season.
It will include any post-season games the Yankees could make this year or next.
A-Rod released this statement:
"I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process. I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight.
Rodriguez has been playing in the minors and will join his team against the White Sox tonight.
He will be allowed to play until his appeal is heard.
This is the longest non-gambling suspension in the history of the league.
Other players suspended.. Nelson Cruz of the Rangers, Everth Cabrera of the Padres and Detroit Tiger Jhonny Peralta.
They all received 50 game suspensions.
Thank you, Courtney. You can read more about that story at 13wmaz-dot-com...and we'll hear more from you in sports.
There are a lot of changes in store for Second Street in downtown Macon.
Many familiar businesses will be getting a makeover.
Judy Le tells us more about the million-dollar plans.
There's a block of Second Street with only six businesses. That's a lot compared to a year ago ...
<Bert Maxwell, bert maxwell furniture company vp - it was us, suntrust, and the willow tree on this block>
Bert Maxwell runs a furniture store that has been on this street for 41 years.
<(have you ever remembered a time when it was thriving? Not in my ten years here>
Well that's all going to change. Second Street is getting a million dollar facelift. It's all a part of the Main Street Matters revitalization project.
<Kendyl wright, benjamin moore spokesperson - we were looking at the surfaces. Right now our team is going through where we are going to repair >
<standup - these are only exterior changes. At the clisby building, they'll strip the paint, replace the glass, and restore the door>
The money comes from SPLOST funds and Benjamin Moore ... a paint company. All businesses on the street-level will be fixed-up early next year.
<Tylina Swinger, disfenkshenl tees-n-things - we heard a lot of buzz about it so we decided to come on down and grab a spot while we still can>
Disfenkshenl Tees-N-Things has been open for a week. Co-owner...Tylina Swinger...wanted the perks of a downtown business without the congestion
<parking. It's not like cherry street. You can park, get in and get out>
Though Maxwell has one of the oldest stores on the block ... He doesn't mind sharing the space
<downtown macon will always be a shopping center and always be here>
Construction will begin early next year and will take about two to three weeks to finish.
And tonight a Macon city council committee is getting ready for the city's first group of Mercer tailgaters.
On the table... Whether or not to allow open containers downtown before Mercer home games.
Some are all for it... While other council members say they're concerned about the clean-up afterwards,
Katelyn Heck will have more on their discussions tonight on Eyewitness News at 11.