Dougherty Co. coroner asks community to take stand against violence

Dougherty Co. coroner asks community to take stand against violence
Michael Fowler, Dougherty County Coroner (Source: WALB)
Michael Fowler, Dougherty County Coroner (Source: WALB)
Latrice Mack, Albany resident (Source: WALB)
Latrice Mack, Albany resident (Source: WALB)
Coroner's vehicle (Source: WALB)
Coroner's vehicle (Source: WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - Nineteen. That's the number of homicides in Dougherty County this year alone.

Michael Fowler, Dougherty County Coroner, said this kind of violence must end.

Now he is calling for the "The Good Life City" to live up to its name once more, and to take a stand against crime.

"Nineteen times the hearse should have never been moved," said Fowler.

Fowler is tired. It's only October and there have been 19 homicides in the past 10 months in Dougherty County, a number he says is a record in the past 5 years he's been here.

"It's kind of scary because I look at it like this: it could have been my child. And this is a shock to the community," said Fowler.

Now he's advocating for folks to find peace within the community.

"I think we have to change the mindset of the people because it's different from when we were growing up," said Fowler.

To show people the value of life, on Thursday October 26, Fowler, first responders and city officials will host a city-wide rally called "Take A Stand."

It will begin with a parade of 19 hearses to honor those 19 lives lost to senseless violence this year.

"People now take lives very lightly. And then one person will be dead and another person has to go to jail. Why is that? We have to come up with a better mindset," explained Fowler.

Fowler hopes this rally will help community members see just how much homicides are affecting everyone.

Latrice Mack, an Albany resident, has been living here for 3 years. And like Fowler, she's sad to learn that Dougherty County's already had 19 homicides in 2017.

"It's stunning because that's a lot of deaths to be happening in just a year's time," said Mack.

Fowler said many of these homicides are related to domestic violence,  and most likely the victim knows his or her attacker.

"I don't want to keep going to death after death and life is OK. It's not ok," said Fowler.

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