Valdosta Police make arrest in mass shooting -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta Police make arrest in mass shooting

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –A murder suspect is in jail Thursday charged in the worst shooting in the history of Valdosta.

Police say the suspect is one of ten people wounded in a shoot-out Sunday.

Bernard Sanders was arrested Wednesday night in Lake Park.

Police say he fired the shots that killed 19-year old Sidney Bivens.

Valdosta Police say the primary shooter in Sunday's mass shooting at the Hudson Dockett housing project is now in jail.

 "We believe Mr. Sanders is the individual responsible for firing the shots that resulted in the death of the victim of the recent shooting," said Chief Frank Simons.

24-year old Bernard Sanders was picked up last night by authorities in Lake Park during a traffic stop. He's charged with the murder of 19-year old Sidney Bivens. Sanders was also one of the 10 people wounded in the shooting.

 "We don't have any evidence at this time that this was a quote gang situation,” said Chief Simons. “This appears to have been a series of arguments and conflicts so I don't want citizens to feel there is an out of control problem in our city."

Police know the motives but won't discuss them at this point.

"We believe that will be part of the evidence brought forward in the trial and we just don't think it would be a wise thing to try that case in the media," said Chief Simons.

Police say they have strong leads in identifying a second person responsible for the shooting. They're hopeful they'll be able to make more arrests soon.

"This was the largest victim occurrence that we had I think in the history of Valdosta and one in a single event and we will address it," said Mayor John Fretti.

On Thursday, the Valdosta City Council will consider creating a Community Task Force on Violence.

"This is a wide range problem that is seemingly difficult to get our arms around but it's time to be involved with every agency and aspect of the community," said Mayor Fretti.

He says the task force will come up with ways address to the violence the community is seeing. 

One victim remains in the hospital. Additional charges are pending on Sanders. Lowndes and Thomas County investigators and the South Georgia FBI Gang Task Force are helping with the investigation.

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