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One Week After Toddler Shooting, Brunswick Residents Are Still Terrified

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Cyd Hoskinson
/
WJCT

Things are slowly returning to normal in Brunswick, Georgia, where just one week ago a sleeping toddler was shot to death in his stroller as it was being pushed by his mother along a quiet residential street.

The fact that the crime took place in broad daylight brutally undermined the community's sense of safety and security.

Ricky Underwood, a server at Fox's Pizza Den in historic downtown Brunswick, says residents are still feeling the effects of the shooting.

"Everyone's terrified. We're afraid to go to our cars, and we're afraid if you see someone walking on the street next to you at night when you're trying to go to your car that you're going to get robbed or shot."

Underwood says a lot of people who work downtown will get a policeman or someone else they know to walk them to their cars after work.

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Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
Jayme Summers does afternoons at 90.7 Way Radio.

Across the street from Fox's is Brunswick's Christian music station, 90.7 Way Radio.  Jayme Summers, who does the afternoon show, says people call in just to talk to someone. 

"You pray with them and you hope you can be some kind of comfort to them.  But there's not much you really can say."

Down the street at Tipsy McSway's Neighborhood Bar and Grill, owner Susan Bates stands chatting with some of her regular customers.

Bates says she expected business to drop off in the days after the baby's murder because people would be too scared to go outside. Instead, she says, the opposite happened.

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Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
Tipsy McSway's owner Susan Bates chats with afternoon customers at the bar.

"What I'm seeing people do is come outside.  Come outside with their families.  Come outside on their porches.  Just come outside and walk down the street and ride their bicycles and be normal times two outside.  They don't want to live inside.  They don't want to be scared and they don't want to be scared inside their houses."

Bates says she and her friends are focused on making sure the shooting doesn't come to define their coastal Georgia town.

"We were just talking the other day about coming up with IBIB, 'I believe in Brunswick,' stickers or something so that people know we haven't lost any faith in Brunswick. It's a horrible thing that happened in a really beautiful place."

Two boys, 17-year-old De'Marquise Elkins and a 15-year-old Dominique Lang, are currently behind bars, charged with first degree murder in the March 21st shooting death of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago. 

Brunswick authorities announced Monday they had also arrested Elkins' mother and his aunt for making false statements to police.