MACON, Ga. — A man accused of shooting a Macon teen Tuesday is now being held without bond. The death of 15-year-old Ashton Roberts follows a string of teen shootings across Bibb County.
The story of crime in neighborhoods is one told far too often, but after a 15-year-old was shot and killed, south Macon residents are calling for alternative solutions.
"I got two or three lights running from a drop cord hooked to my front porch, so we'll have light out here on the streets. I haven't gone out on the north side and seen that," Louis Jones said.
Jones has lived on Pinson Street for five years. For as long as he can remember, it's been a rowdy neighborhood, but he says blight, low visibility due to overgrown bushes and trees, lack of deputy presence, and streetlights all play a role.
"I believe those things right there play a part in crime being committed, because, see, if somebody gets killed, they can run, go off in the empty house, jump over your fence, and go in the right-of-way where they know they can hide," he said.
But that's not the only reason Jones thinks things are out of hand.
"It starts at home. Then if mama and daddy aren’t doing right, then the children aren't going to do right. You have to have some leaders, some strong leadership. Then, you have to get these politicians to get up off their ass and do something -- they ain't doing nothing,” he said.
Sam Johnson says part of change is challenging planning and zoning-- limiting the increase of convenience stores.
"Someone needs to say, 'Well, not here.' It prevents a doctor from setting up his or her office, it prevents a small convenient neighborhood facility," he told 13WMAZ.
Johnson says in troubled Macon neighborhoods like this one, people are afraid and arming themselves.
"The young guys are afraid so they're packing, the middle-aged guys are afraid so they're packing, the older citizens are afraid, so they're packing, so everybody thinks it’s the Wild West -- shoot before I get shot,” he said.
The man accused of killing Roberts appeared Wednesday before a Bibb County magistrate judge. Algie Bryant is being held without bond in the Bibb County jail, charged with murder and several other charges. Investigators say he shot the teen from the backyard of his Pinson Street home. An arrest warrant says they found marijuana, lights, scales, and other marijuana growing equipment inside. They're calling it a grow house. The sheriff's office says they're still investigating.