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Gunman came to kill, wounded Dawson mayor supporters charge

Members of a Georgia black mayors organization want increased protection for Dawson Mayor Christopher Wright

Carlotta Harrell, field director of the Georgia Conference of Black Mayors, speaks to reporters Thursday concerning Dawson mayor Christopher Wright, who was shot on Halloween night. Members of the conference believe the gunman came to kill Wright for political reasons and are asking for for more security protection for Wright. At Harrell’s right are family spokesman Ezekiel Holley, center, and Wright’s uncle Wallace Johnson Jr. (Staff Photo: Jim West)

Carlotta Harrell, field director of the Georgia Conference of Black Mayors, speaks to reporters Thursday concerning Dawson mayor Christopher Wright, who was shot on Halloween night. Members of the conference believe the gunman came to kill Wright for political reasons and are asking for for more security protection for Wright. At Harrell’s right are family spokesman Ezekiel Holley, center, and Wright’s uncle Wallace Johnson Jr. (Staff Photo: Jim West)

DAWSON — The Halloween night shooting of Dawson Mayor Christopher Wright was a politically motivated attack on his life, officials with an association of Georgia African-American mayor said Thursday.

At a Dawson City Hall briefing Thursday, Wright family spokesman Ezekiel Holley said the young mayor, who was wounded multiple times by the gunman inside his home, was in stable condition and continuing to improve. Officials with the Georgia Conference of Black Mayors, however, do not think the shooting was the result of a robbery attempt.

“The way it was originally reported was as some kind of robbery or home invasion and that’s not, in fact, the case,” said Carlotta Harrell, field director of the mayors conference. “We believe there was an attempt on (Wright’s) life, and that (the attempt) was the whole point of the attack.”

Harrell said that in order to provide what she feels is necessary additional protection for Wright and for the community, the state public safety director is considering an increase in the level of public safety and for Wright as he recovers, “whether that means State Patrol or the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.”

“We want to be sure there is some executive protection in place when (Wright) leaves the hospital,” Harrell said.

Harrell also said that members of the Georgia legislative black caucus have been in touch with the governor’s office to ensure “this isn’t swept under the rug, that due diligence is done and that the persons that are responsible for the crime are caught.”

John Howard, mayor of Forsyth and self-described good friend of Wright, attended the conference in support of the injured mayor and the Wright family. Howard said he expected that a resolution to the case will “take some time,” but was confident the GBI will ultimately identify and arrest the attacker. While expressing sympathy and support for the Wright family, Howard was realistic about what can happen to political figures.

“When you take a position as mayor of a city, it gets a little rough and people can have a problem with what you stand for,” Howard said. “(Attacks) can happen, but it goes with the territory.”

Wallace Johnson Jr., uncle of Christopher Wright, expressed appreciation for the support of community members, and especially for contributions to a fund at the Bank of Terrell in Dawson that has been established to help offset mounting medical expenses. Johnson said he and other family members will be relieved when Wright’s attackers are put behind bars.

Members of the family “are terrified, honestly,” Johnson said “Everyone is on edge. We’ll be glad when the people are caught so we can go back to our original lifestyle.”

In a written statement, Holley asked citizens of Dawson and surrounding comm unites to continue to pray for Dawson, its healing and its “coming together.” Holley also asked for donations to the Wright family medical fund, listing a phone number, (229) 407-0101, to call for information.