RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Local leaders gathered at Lumpkin’s Jail in downtown Richmond Saturday for a day of community prayer.
To mourn those who have lost their lives to violence, and to build a sense of community and unification in Richmond, local government and religious leaders met at the site of the former slave jail.
“We felt it necessary that our public officials and our city leaders, along with our faith based leaders and our community gather together,” said Antoinette Irving, Richmond’s Sheriff. “We’ve had upwards of 80 murders here in the city of Richmond. We are praying for our students, we are praying for our young people, we are praying for our leadership here in the city.”
On Nov. 22, Richmond recorded its 72nd murder of 2021, making it the city’s most violent year since 2005. In the weeks following, that number has been increasing consistently. After a quadruple shooting in the East End killed two children in November, police formed a task force in an effort to put an end to the uptick in violence.
“We want to make sure the city knows we’re unified together, and it’s gonna take all of us to solve this problem,” said Irving. “The unification of our city will ensure that we can move forward.”
Irving was joined by Mayor Levar Stoney, Police Chief Gerald Smith, State Senator Joe Morrisey and others.