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Community asked to come together during candlelight vigil for Pepperton shooting victim
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Family members, friends and community members came out June 2 for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Keyon “Ke-Low” Watts, 28, of Jackson, an innocent victim caught in a crossfire of bullets in the Pepperton (Pep) neighborhood on May 28. About 100 people attended the vigil and all were shaken and saddened by the violence.

Jackson Police investigators say Watts was visiting friends when the shooting began and may have been trying to break up the argument when he was shot and killed. The Watts family owns land in Pep.

Witnesses said the shooters fled the scene, one in a vehicle, and one on foot. E-911 received a call from a resident in the Indian Springs community about a person wounded by gunfire. Deputies responded to an address on Cenie Road and found a Black male suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to a hospital in Macon, where he remains.

The GBI has joined the Jackson Police Department and Butts County Sheriff’s Office in the investigations and are actively searching for those involved.

At the vigil, Pastor Laverna Farley of New Life Holiness Church in Pep, a second cousin to Watts, said this was a senseless killing, and that there are better ways of settling an argument than pulling out guns.

“If you want to fight, fight fair,” Farley said. “If you’re not a coward, why you pulling out a gun? We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to love each other. I might not like what you do, you might not like what I do, but we still can reason together. We can come together and compromise on what we need to talk about.

“I don’t care what color you are; I don’t care what church you go to; let us get together and stop all this senseless killing,” she continued.” If you get so heated that you want to hurt somebody, get in your car and leave. I’m hurt because this don’t make sense — Black on Black crime.”

Pastor Farley asked those present to join hands to show that they are coming together to help each other.

“Some of us need to make up our minds today that I’m going to help my sisters and my brothers,” she said. “This isn’t going to happen any more. We don’t want to be known for killing and violence. We want to be known for love and peace, and lifting each other up, like we used to.”

Addressing Watts’ mother and other family members, Farley said if there is any good to come out of Watts’ death, it is that it is bringing the community together.

“I know you’re hurting and it’s senseless. But one thing I can say, if you look around and see, Keyon brought some people together,” she said. “You see, we’re going to miss him, but there isn’t anybody who can take care of him better than Jesus. But you all come on, let’s reason together. Let’s get ourselves together because God is going to call us home someday and we’ve got to be ready.”

Those present then lit candles in memory of Watts, and three heart-shaped balloons were released.

The GBI has joined the Jackson Police Department and Butts County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation, which remains active. Anyone with any information is asked to call either 770-775-7878 or 770-775-8235.


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Jackson celebrates opening of trails, welcome center, and kids on bicycles

Things were happening in Jackson on Saturday, June 5, from the grand opening of The Creeks Recreational Trail System, to the ribbon-cutting for the new Welcome Center in the Historic Butts County Courthouse, to a Stranger Things Bike Ride for kids.

The Creeks trail system sprovide a paths from the city of Jackson starting at the Brownlee Road Trailhead adjacent to Jackson Elementary School, across Dauset Trails and into Indian Springs State Park. The celebration Saturday was for Phase 1 of the project, which includes 10.75 miles of trails. Jackson is in the process of seeking a second grant to extend the trail further into the city.

The Historic Courthouse was recently renovated and is now the home of the Butts County Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson-Butts County Council for the Arts, the Butts County Historical Society, and the Jackson-Butts County Development Authority. The chamber is running the Welcome Center in the courthouse and held a ribbon-cutting for it Saturday afternoon.

And later that afternoon, the chamber held a Stranger Things Bike Ride for kids on Second Street. Saturday’s bike ride for kids was all fun and games and educational as the riders were given helmets and took part in games that taught them bicycle safety.


Luke Weaver


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