Man arrested after police say he shot 6 people in downtown Athens

ATHENS, Ga. — Police have arrested a man they say shot six people and injured another in the middle of downtown Athens early Sunday morning.

Pharoah Williams, 21, turned himself in to the Wilkes County Jail on Monday.

Police said a large fight broke out in the area of East Clayton Street and North Jackson Street just after 2 a.m. A man started shooting into the crowd that was fighting, police said.

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Police said seven people were injured in the gunfire. Police said five who were shot were taken to the hospital by ambulance. Another gunshot victim and someone with a non-gunshot injury took themselves to the hospital.

Lt. Shaun Barnett with the Athens-Clarke County police said cameras downtown played a vital role in helping them identify the suspect.

“At this point we do think Mr. Williams was associated with some of the people fighting, so we don’t think this was just a random attack of downtown patrons,” Barnett said.

Barnett said it is very unusual for something like this to happen in downtown Athens.

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For those who weren’t at UGA’s season opener in Charlotte, downtown Athens is typically the second best place in town to cheer on the Bulldogs, meaning the area was packed with students and fans alike.

Libby Allen told Channel 2′s Elizabeth Rawlins that her son was one of the victims.

“He was standing in the back...he didn’t even know he had been shot until he got home,” she said.

An employee at one of the bars in downtown Athens said the area was packed with people when shots rang out from nowhere.

For many, Athens and UGA are one and the same, so even though the shooting didn’t happen on campus, many are concerned about being in the area.

“Just seeing the crime scene tape, this doesn’t make you feel at home at all,” UGA student Jenna Rohrbach said. “I really kind of just want to stay away for a little bit.”

Police have not identified any of the victims, but did say that none of them were University of Georgia students.

Investigators also say they do not believe the shooting was random and that Williams likely knew the victims.

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