RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond residents are shaken up after a quadruple shooting in Shockoe Bottom over the weekend. The gunfire erupted in a parking lot near the Exxon on East Broad Street.
Business owners and residents shared that the gas station and the parking lot, on Crane Street are ‘hot spots’ for violence and crime. One man told 8News he parks in the lot for work and often observes shell casings on the ground. On Monday, the lot was littered with shattered glass and alcohol bottles.
After some digging and FOIA requests, 8News discovered that police have responded to hundreds of calls at the Exxon over the last few years.
Early Sunday morning, around 1:30 a.m., Richmond Police were called to the Crane Street parking lot for reports of shots fired. The scene looked like a ‘war zone’, according to one Richmond resident. Cars were riddled with bullets, bottles of alcohol were scattered on the ground, shoes and personal belongings were visible, and crime scene tape was blocking off the area.
Multiple shots rang out in the crowded parking lot. According to RPD four people were shot, two were critically hurt.
“It’s very disturbing,” Jennifer Venable told 8News.
Venable works downtown and parks in the lot everyday. She says on Monday, she ran over an alcohol bottle while parking– adding the violence is frequent in that area.
“I think it’s a shame that we can’t feel safe downtown anytime after dark,” said Venable. “Just even going to the gas station over here– I would never feel safe after 7 or 8 p.m.”.
The shooting happened right across the street from the Exxon, which is no stranger to police activity. 8News covered a fight that was caught on camera last year. The incident ended with shots being fired. Just two days after that incident, a deadly shooting occurred at the same location.
For years, business owners have become frustrated and made complaints about the rash of violence that seems to occur at the gas station and surrounding area. 8News requested calls for service at the Exxon, which show that in the last five years, it’s had 2,196 calls to police.
The lengthy 22-page report shows that most calls to RPD are for disorderly conduct, but other frequent calls include gunfire, assault, fight, intoxication, drugs, trespassing, larceny, fraud, loud music, and robbery. On average that’s over 400 police calls a year to one location.
Carlos Londoño, owner of La Bodega, in Shockoe has witnessed the weekend commotion.
“They come down 18th street popping wheelies,” Londoño explained. “They think it’s fast and the furious and it’s not.”
Londoño said he had to hire more security and install more cameras to feel safe in the area. After talking with several business owners on Monday who did not want to go on camera, all had the same tone. They shared that the weekends are dangerous and Shockoe Bottom can be very ‘rough’ on Saturday and Sundays. Other’s say the parking lot and Exxon turn into one large outdoor party with loud music, fast cars, and gun violence.
“I think something needs to be done as far as security on the weekend,” said Venable.
Many are asking the same question as Venable– what’s being done to curb the violence? 8News reached out to the Mayor’s Office and received an automated reply that staff is observing Juneteenth on Monday.
In August of 2020, 8News found out that Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control issued the Exxon a Reasonable Measures Letter after a recent shooting at the gas station. The letter outlined the public safety incident and contained measures that the licensee provided they will put in place to ensure that another incident does not occur in the future.
8News checked in with ABC today who stated that they are not currently investigating Sunday’s quadruple shooting because it did not happen on Exxon’s property, however that could change in the future depending on RPD’s investigation.
Richmond Police provided no updates on the shooting on Monday.