Petersburg residents fed up with crime at OYO Hotel: ‘We’re killing ourselves’


PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg residents are fed up as crime plagues the OYO Hotel on South Crater Road.

Donna Garrett lives in the area and told 8News the drug activity often seen nearby is “Terrible.”

“It’s sad about a lot of the black-on-black crime that’s going on, and we’re killing ourselves,” said Garrett.

The most recent shooting at the hotel took place just two nights ago on Tuesday, Nov. 16. A person was taken to the hospital after being shot multiple times. Emanuel Chambliss is the Deputy Chief of Police in the City of Petersburg. According to Deputy Chief Chambliss, the person suffered non-life threatening injuries.

On the morning of May 6, Ravon Mays was shot and killed. Twenty-one year old Franklin Coleman was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in August.

In February, 19 year old Zykiria Neal was found naked and dead in her hotel room. According to Petersburg Police, after an investigation, the medical examiner said Neal’s death was caused by an asthma attack, indicating no foul play. Jennifer Thomas is Neal’s grandmother, who told 8News she’s still destroyed.

“Every time I feel like I’m getting a little better with this, I turn on the news and I see OYO,” said Thomas. “I relive it. It’s like it’s happening all over again.”

Deputy Chief Chambliss said there have been 196 police calls for service at the hotel since Jan. 1. This number was 116 as of June. According to Petersburg Police, Petersburg Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services found code violations.

Thomas said she holds the hotel responsible.

“All of these people don’t have their loved ones or their hurt loved ones for the holidays because of the OYO,” said Thomas.

The Petersburg Police Department faces some challenges as they try to curb the violence at the hotel. Police said at times both the victims and witnesses are not cooperating in investigations. For instance, in this week’s shooting, police said the victim was taken to the hospital and would not cooperate with police. There were 20-30 witnesses when police arrived to the hotel, and no one would cooperate there either.

Due to the crime, police have increased their presence in the area. The Petersburg Police Department has been meeting with the Petersburg Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, the Petersburg Health Department, Petersburg Social Services and Code Compliance to come up with a solution.

Deputy Chief Chambliss told 8News the agencies plan to meet again next month.

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