RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It was a violent weekend in Richmond with four people killed in just three days; two of them were young children. A 9-year-old and a 14-year-old were gunned down at a convenience store, which has transformed into a growing memorial filled with flowers, candles and teddy bears.
On Friday at 7:30 p.m., Richmond Police swarmed the O.M.G. convenience store at Creighton Road and Nine Mile Road. Four people were hit by gunfire – two men were critically hurt and two young children died.
The family has confirmed with 8News that Abdul Bani-Ahmad, 9, was one of the children who died. A family member says he was incredibly smart and a great brother. Abdul has two younger brothers and an older brother. His family owns the O.M.G. convenience store, which is why the 9-year-old was there on Friday night.
The family explained that Abdul was leaving with his father but forgot his bag of chips inside the store. He ran to go get them and as he was running back to get inside of the car, bullets started flying and he was hit in front of family. Abdul’s parents were too devastated to do an on-camera interview on Monday and to reopen the store’s doors, which have been locked since the crime.
They also say this is the second family member they’ve lost to senseless gun violence in Richmond. In 2019, Ashraf H. Mahasees, a clerk at a convenience store on Midlothian Turnpike, was shot and killed days before his 24th birthday during a robbery.
Rahquan Logan was also gunned down on Friday night. The 14-year-old’s family stood with community leaders in front of the store on Saturday but were too emotional to talk.
Over the weekend, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith, Mayor Levar Stoney and City Council President Cynthia Newbille held a press conference to share their condolences and send a message that this will not be tolerated.
“This kind of act cannot stand in Richmond,” said Chief Smith.
Mayor Stoney also took the podium and said two families should be tucking their children into bed, but instead they’re at the city morgue.
“We have been fighting an epidemic of gun violence in the city for decades and we have to ask ourselves when does it stop,” Stoney said.
Mayor Stoney and VCU Health declared gun violence a public health crisis earlier this year, but the violence remains and children continue to get caught in the crossfire.
In 2019, 9-year-old Markiyah Dickson was shot and killed at a city park on Memorial Day when gunfire erupted. At just 3-years-old, Shamar Hill Jr. was killed when shots rang out in Hillside Court while he was playing outside last year. Earlier his year, 3-month-old Neziah Hill was fatally shot with her mother, Sharnez Hill, at an apartment complex while outside.
On Monday, Richmond Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said the school district had two high school students who were victims of gun violence recently. He said one student attended Thomas Jefferson High School while the other attended John Marshall High School.
“During my time at RPS, I’ve tragically had to write sentences similar to this one dozens of times. It never gets easier. I’m raw with heartbreak for these students’ grieving families, friends, and teachers – and can’t seem to shake the haunting image of any empty classroom chair,” Kamras said.
He said that people must keep striving for solutions to gun violence. The school district is offering the opportunity to join community conversations focused on “a trauma-responsive approach to healing after loss.”
The superintendent did not indicate the students’ names nor when and where they were shot.
In response to Friday’s quadruple shooting, Richmond Police officers were canvassing Creighton Court on Monday as part of their R.E.S.E.T program, or Rapid Engagement of Support in the Event of Trauma. The department says after any homicide, officers knock on doors to talk with families and visit business owners to provide resources and check on their mental health.
8News caught up with Sergeant Tish Edmonds during their walk on Monday.
“I’m praying for peace,” Edmonds said. “The community has a lot of stress and anxiety about their neighborhood, kids coming out to play, and walking to your car. We are here because we care. We all need to heal.”
Sgt. Edmonds has been with the police department for 21 years and told 8News it doesn’t get any easier.
“I can’t imagine, especially with the holidays right around the corner,” said Edmonds. “I cannot imagine. I’ve been tearful since Friday. I came out here and prayed over the ground.”
8News checked in with Richmond Police on Monday multiple times, but there are no new updates in the case or arrests. Chief Smith, However, said he will find whoever is responsible for the crime and has created a special task force.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers or Richmond Police.