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Sheriff Roundtree: Biker Gang Shootings Were Retaliation for Florida Incident

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The motorcycle gang shootout Saturday that left two dead, four wounded and 12 facing murder and gun charges was retaliation for an earlier incident between the Outcast and Thug Rider biker groups in Florida, Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree said.

The shootout in East Augusta led to the deaths of Germayne Farrell, 51, of Daytona Beach, and Keith Coates, 30, of Valdosta.

After he was pronounced dead, Farrell’s body was struck by a firefighter’s vehicle in an “unfortunate accident,” Roundtree said.

The shootings triggered protocols in the event additional group members were “mobilizing and possibly traveling to Augusta” for further retaliation, the sheriff said. Regional law enforcement and hospitals were notified, as was Mayor Garnett Johnson, he said.

“We will advise the public of any confirmed threats if they develop,” Roundtree said Monday in a press conference.

Two of the suspects remained hospitalized Monday, while 10 made initial court appearances. The shooting left at least one suspect, Jonathan Keaton, 31, of St. Marys, in critical condition, according to an arrest warrant. The other hospitalized suspect is Deja Dotson, 30, of St. Marys.

The mass shooting took place just before 7 p.m. near the Outcast Motorcycle Club’s Augusta clubhouse in the 100 block of Sand Bar Ferry Road. Outcast participants had illegally blocked off a section of street for a cookout, Roundtree said.

“The incident stemmed from an incident that recently occurred in Florida involving the Outcasts and the Thug Riders,” the sheriff said, declining to elaborate.

It put Augusta on the list of more than 200 U.S. mass shootings this year on otherwise uneventful day during which Augusta successfully hosted an air show and a family music festival, the sheriff said.

“All of that was quickly overshadowed by the unprecedented, reckless acts of gun violence involving individuals from out of town, who live nowhere near Augusta,” Roundtree said.

Of those charged, eight were with the Thug Riders and four with the Outcasts, he said. Both are motorcycle groups with gang ties that have units around the southeast. Despite the local Outcast event, only one suspect – Larry Ross, 44, of Hephzibah – is local. (Story continues below.)

Deputies recovered more than 150 shell casings at the crime scene, which took up most of a block. They also confiscated 13 motorcycles, one vehicle Roundtree said was involved in the incident and 10 firearms. Guns were found in the clubhouse, in vehicles or around nearby businesses where suspects tossed them as they fled, Roundtree said.

At their initial appearance hearings Monday, Magistrate Judge Shawn Mirzlak informed the suspects of their constitutional rights and the charges they face. Each is charged with two counts of felony murder in the deaths of Farrell and Coates as well as aggravated assault.

The Outcast suspects each stated they had some college education and were planning to hire attorneys. All were Black males and none were local:
Kenneth Taylor, 43, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Tysen Harper, 38, Lumberton, N.C.
Larry Sutton, 42, Fayetteville, N.C.
James Bryant, 31, Fayetteville, N.C.

The Thug Rider suspects included five white people from coastal Georgia and one Black male from Hephzibah. The six who had initial court appearances Monday said they needed public defenders:
Larry Ross, 44, Hephzibah
McKayla Rickett, 26, Kingland
Matthew Willis, 28, St. Marys
Jessica Sapp, 30, Kingsland
Cory Sapp, 30, Kingsland
Freddie Crosson, 39, St. Marys

Those without Monday court appearances remain hospitalized:
Jonathan Keaton, 31, St. Marys
Deja Dotson, 30, St. Marys

Asked if Outcast is a violent gang, Roundtree said he knew of no direct ties.

Fort Gordon soldier Victor Banks, 38, was a member when he was killed at Ikonz Sports Bar in 2020. His homicide on Biker Night at the club is unsolved.

The Outcast headquarters backs up to an Augusta apartment complex, East Augusta Commons, where many families have young children. It’s located across the street from a vendor that services sheriff’s office vehicles, and one new cruiser was hit by gunfire, Roundtree said.

The update comes as the Augusta Commission prepares to adopt the National Fire Protection Association 3000 standards, a set of protocols for active shooter or hostile events, on Tuesday. The city, Augusta University and other agencies are simultaneously adopting the standards, becoming the first Georgia city to do so. Roundtree said the sheriff’s office is on board as well.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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