‘Crime is like a disease:’ Teen gun deaths more than doubled in a year in this small Ga. community

Families in LaGrange are growing increasingly worried about violence involving teenagers.

This comes as one family is preparing to bury their 16-year-old son.

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Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln was in LaGrange Friday, where community activist Bruce Griggs said crime is getting worse, even in small communities like his.

“This crime is like a disease,” Griggs said. ‘It’s out of hand and is spreading, not only in Atlanta. It’s getting worse and it’s going to continue to get worse.


Griggs said there’s a growing trend of gun-related incidents happening in the community, which has a population of just over 31,000 residents.

“That’s small-town west Georgia. And that’s not normal,” Griggs said. “So it’s definitely a state of emergency in this city.”

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Erica Truitt’s 16-year-old son, Nasir, is the latest teen victim of gun violence in LaGrange. Nasir, who was an innocent bystander, was shot after an argument erupted at a skate park last week. Police arrested 15-year-old Brandon Harrison and charged him with murder.

“It’s got to stop, it has to stop,” Truitt said. “They got to do something. You never want to get a phone call saying something happened to your child,”

Harrison has been charged as an adult in Truitt’s murder.

Truitt is the second teen to be shot to death this month.

On Saturday, Griggs and police are holding a youth event at a local park as outreach to encourage teens to put the weapons down.

“There are individuals that are down in that small town, which is my hometown, who are afraid,” Griggs said.

In 2022, the number of cases of teenage gun-related deaths or injuries more than doubled from the year before. Griggs said poverty, access to weapons, gangs and drugs are factors contributing to the increase.