The owner of a bar where a woman lost her life has matched reward money offered by police, raising the total to $5,000 in exchange for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible.
Heyward Fields, the owner of Platinum Lounge on Proctor Street in Statesboro, added $2,500 to the reward offered to anyone who can help police arrest the person who shot Akeila Roschell Martin in the early morning hours Aug. 19.
Investigators know the suspect is a black male, but after interviewing more than 100 people regarding the fatal shooting, they are still seeking clues as to his identity.
Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner said witnesses continue to give police conflicting reports, and he hopes the increased reward will make someone in the know step forward.
“Anything can help at this point,” he said Monday, on the eve of a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. today to discuss the reward. The news conference will be held at the Statesboro Police Department on West Grady Street.
Investigators briefly had one man in custody last week, but “he was released and is no longer a suspect,” Turner said. “One lead spider-webs into five or six leads, and this has turned into a massive investigation.”
A second woman wounded in the shooting,
Sadondra Brianna Scarboro, 21, of Sylvania, was released from a hospital last week after treatment for her injuries. Turner said ongoing investigations prevent him from disclosing where Martin and Scarboro were wounded.
Fields said he offered to match the police department’s reward money “out of respect” for the victims and in hopes that someone will step forward.
“I am cooperating with the Statesboro Police Department with respect to this incident …,” he said. “I will continue to cooperate with authorities in hopes for a resolution to this tragic event. I am also working diligently with authorities in a joint effort to find ways of making my business and the area around it a safer place.”
On Saturday, there were uniformed security officers outside the bar, and businesses in the vicinity posted new “no loitering signs.” Turner said the signs will enable police to enforce the local ordinance against loitering.
Statesboro police officers had already been patrolling the area on weekends to monitor large crowds, he said. Surveillance video from the Statesboro Herald, across the street from Platinum Lounge, showed a Statesboro police officer driving past the site of the shooting just seconds before the shots were fired.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.