A woman whose brother was shot and killed in North Augusta in September is organizing an anti-violence rally at Lions Field on Saturday to bring awareness to his case and to other unsolved murder cases in the area.
The event, titled “Stop the Violence,” will be held at 1 p.m. in the park, which is located at 619 West Buena Vista Ave. in North Augusta. It will include guest speakers and a balloon release in memory of lives lost to violence in Aiken County.
Tyesha Simmons got the idea as a way to stoke interest in the case of her brother, 28-year-old Travis Smith, who was shot and killed on Sept. 29.
Smith was standing outside an apartment at Ridgeview Manor on Bradleyville Road in North Augusta when he was shot around 2:45 a.m., authorities have said. Officers found him dead on a couch inside an apartment with a gunshot wound to his abdomen.
“We're going to be talking about what's going on in the community,” Simmons said of Saturday's event. “We're letting the families of some of these victims know that they haven't been forgotten. We still remember these people; we still remember that there's somebody out there that's responsible for it.”
Simmons said she was moved to organize the rally by the number of gun crimes she's seen in the area, and the number of crimes that are still unsolved today.
Friends and family of past violent crime victims are urged to come out on Saturday. Simmons encourages them to bring pictures of their lost loved ones, or to wear shirts in honor of them.
She added that it will be a good opportunity to pass out flyers and information about their loved one's case.
“People will see how many lives that one careless act can affect,” she said. “When they take somebody's life, they don't realize they leave behind children, they leave behind parents, brothers, sisters and friends.”
So far, there are no new developments in Smith's case. The North Augusta Department of Public Safety announced on Wednesday that it will have a press conference today to update the public on the case and to promote Saturday's rally.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call North Augusta Public Safety at 279-2121. Individuals also should call CrimesStoppers of the Midlands at (888) CRIME–SC. Callers can remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward between $50 and $1,000.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime beat for the Aiken Standard. He is a graduate of Clemson University and hails from Williston.