AUGUSTA, Ga. – Two people were killed and four were injured when more than 150 shots were fired in a gunfight between rival motorcycle clubs in a Georgia city, a sheriff said Monday.
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office charged 12 people with murder and aggravated assault in the shootout in Augusta on Saturday night, including the four injured people, Sheriff Richard Roundtree said.
The violence erupted at the clubhouse of the Outcast Motorcycle Club's Augusta chapter near an apartment complex and single-family homes, the sheriff said. Deputies recovered more than 150 spent shell casings, he said, some of them found a block away.
"With the amount of firepower and carnage we saw at the scene, this could have been a much more horrific event,” Roundtree said during a news conference Monday.
Investigators believe the gunfight stemmed from a prior dispute in Florida involving Outcast members and another motorcycle club known as the Thug Riders, said Roundtree, who declined to provide details.
Of the 12 people arrested, he said, 11 came from out of town — including one from Florida and three from North Carolina. He said those arrested included members of both clubs. Augusta is close to the South Carolina state line.
“This was a coordinated attack by individuals who came from as far away as Florida,” Roundtree said. "We’re talking abut traveling three or four hours to come to Augusta, armed to engage in gun violence.”
Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen identified the dead as Keith Coates, 30, of Valdosta, Georgia, and Germayne Farrell, 51, of Daytona Beach, Florida.
Three of those who were injured were still being treated at a hospital Monday, the sheriff said. He provided no information on their conditions.
Roundtree said most people involved in the gunfight weren't cooperating with investigators, who found multiple guns inside the clubhouse. He said additional arrests are possible, as are additional charges against those already in custody.
The sheriff confirmed that a first responder struck one of the dead bodies Saturday night with a vehicle being moved to make room for emergency vehicles at the scene. He called it a “freak accident” and said the victim had already been declared dead. He said the incident was being handled as a traffic accident.