Police saturating downtown after two shootings in five days
Two 20-year-olds are recovering Friday after being shot on Savannah's Broughton Street in the early morning hours.
Savannah State University football player Vaughn Cornelia was shot in the chest according to witnesses and his high school football coach, Roger Perry. Perry says Cornelia is in critical condition at Memorial University Medical Center, although the hospital is not releasing his condition.
Cornelia is a sophmore at Savannah State who hails from Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
Police say the second victim, Mamie Smith, had only minor injuries. She reportedly was grazed by a bullet.
No arrests have been made in the case. Savannah-Chatham police are planning a stepped-up officer presence in the wake of that shooting, and another that happened Saturday, when 25-year-old Jeremy Kenneth Harden and 24-year-old Nathaniel Jackson were shot in an altercation outside Club Rain on West Bay Street. Both men survived.
"There are thousands of people who come out of the clubs," Downtown Precinct Captain Mike Wilkins said. "In many cases they are intoxicated. It's our responsibility to make sure that we are safe, and we will."
Heading into the busy tourist season, Downtown Business Association president Ruel Joyner, who owns the Broughton Street home goods store 24e, reassured visitors that the city is safe.
"This is after hours for regular business," he said. "I think everybody knows what goes on between two and three a.m."
Witnesses describe right after the shooting, bystanders panicking as they waited for an ambulance.
"If that would've been my friend or family member, I really would've not been happy," witness Christie Amarillo said. " And that's why the chaos and everything is because of the ambulance taking so long."
Southside Fire/EMS Chief Hugh Futrell says the ambulance arrived within the eight-minute window specified in its contract with Chatham County.
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