At least 2 dead, 14 injured after 5 shootings in Savannah, Georgia, officials say

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A spate of gun violence in Georgia over the weekend has killed two people and injured 14 others in separate shootings, officials said.

The Savannah Police Department is investigating five shootings that occurred on Friday and Saturday. One person was injured in a shooting on Friday, and three separate shootings on Saturday left two people dead and injured another.

Then, shortly before midnight Saturday, multiple people with gunshot wounds were discovered at Ellis Square in downtown Savannah. Police said 11 adults were treated for injuries.

During a news conference Sunday, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson expressed his disappointment over the deadly weekend violence.

"We are better than this," Johnson said. "And certainly, we will continue to insist that we are better than this. And it’s important for us to act better than this."

According to Savannah police crime statistics, there have been 12 homicides within city limits so far this year, including the two fatal weekend shootings. That number marks a sharp increase from last year, in which there was one homicide as of May 11, 2023. In 2022, there were 15 homicides by May 11.

In recent years, gun-related deaths have reached record numbers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 48,830 gun-related deaths in 2021. According to a June 2023 survey by the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans — about 62% — said they expected gun violence levels to increase over the next five years.

The Gun Violence Archive logged 164 mass shootings, which it defines as a minimum of four victims shot, and 6,268 gun-related incidents as of Sunday. The group records gun violence incidents collected from over 7,500 law enforcement agencies, media, government, and commercial sources.

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Savannah police investigating five separate shootings

On Friday, Savannah police responded to reports of gunfire at around 3:50 a.m. and discovered a victim with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, according to a news release. The victim was treated and transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center.

Police were able to identify the suspect's vehicle after leaving the scene and officers found the vehicle, which attempted to flee. After a short pursuit, the suspect stopped and was taken into custody.

On Saturday, officers responded to reports of a shooting at around midnight, according to a news release. After arriving at the scene, officers learned that the victim had driven himself to Memorial Health University Medical Center, and witnesses directed officers towards where the suspect had fled.

Officers in the area located the suspect and attempted to detain him, the news release said. The suspect fled on foot and was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit.

Later that evening, a shooting left one male juvenile deceased. Officers responded to the scene around 7:35 p.m. based on a report of an armed person forcefully entering a residence.

Upon arrival, police were told the resident had confronted the intruder and shots had been fired, the news release said. Officers were able to find the male juvenile and discovered that he suffered injuries that included a gunshot wound. Life-saving measures were performed by officers, but he died due to his injuries on the scene.

Less than two hours later, at around 9:20 p.m., police found an adult victim, who died of gunshot wounds, according to a news release. Officers also found a juvenile male victim near an intersection and the victim was treated on the scene and transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center.

More than two hours later, multiple precincts responded to Ellis Square in downtown Savannah, where they discovered multiple people with gunshot wounds, according to a news release. The scene was secured, and multiple injured people were located by officers. First aid was provided, and several were transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center.

In all, 11 adults were treated for injuries.

“As of now, no deaths have occurred because of the incident,” authorities said. “Police were able to interview numerous witnesses and collect evidence at the scene.”

Shootings come ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Savannah Police Chief Lenny Gunther and Johnson both said Sunday that the weekend incidents do not appear to be related nor, Johnson added, do they "appear to be gang-related.”

Johnson noted that the “city government has a role” in addressing public safety issues and cited a recently implemented gun storage ordinance, the employment of a special assistant U.S. attorney who prosecutes federal crimes, and the police’s use of ShotSpotter — a controversial gunshot detection technology.

“Unfortunately, for me, this is a common refrain,” Johnson said. “When you allow (guns) to be everywhere, you can't be surprised when they show up."

The shootings occurred almost a week before the busy Memorial Day weekend. The American Automobile Association has forecasted that 43.8 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday travel period — a 4% increase over last year and almost hitting 2005's record of 44 million travelers.

Johnson still encouraged people to “have a good time."

“Come here, enjoy our city, act responsibly,” Johnson said. “We do this all year long. I think the fact is that beyond the 150,000 people, we have 16 million visitors come here, 99.99% come here, and they’re absolutely fine. We know that safe behavior results in safe results.”

Drew Favakeh is the public safety and courts reporter for Savannah Morning News. You can reach him at

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Savannah gun violence: 2 dead and 14 injured in 5 weekend shootings