RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Authorities in Richmond are continuing to investigate the death of 3-year-old Sharmar Hill Jr., who was killed Saturday after being shot in Hillside Court.
Residents of Hillside Court said the toddler was playing with his friends when shots rang out around 4 p.m on Southlawn Avenue. People in the neighborhood told 8News one of the bullets hit Hill in the leg.
Witnesses told 8News that two of Hill’s sisters picked him up and took him inside of the house to take care of his wounds. Authorities said an ambulance transported the toddler to a local hospital, where he later died.
As the investigation continues, Richmond police said Monday detectives are seeking information on several incidents that took place near where the deadly shooting occurred. On Jan. 31, the day before Hill was shot, officers were informed of a robbery and carjacking in the 2600 block of Berwyn Street at 9:58 p.m.
According to police, a female ride share driver said two customers robbed her at gunpoint and then drove off in her newer model white Kia after she was able to run away. On Monday, 8News spoke with the Lyft driver who said she was carjacked on Friday.
Hours later, just before midnight, police responded to calls of random gunfire in the 1600 block of Rosecrest Avenue. Authorities said random gunfire was reported in the area, which is not far from where Hill was shot, two more times early Saturday.
A witness told authorities they saw a white, newer model vehicle leaving the scene. Police said that when detectives responded to Hillside Court after Hill was shot, information was shared that a white vehicle was seen speeding away from the area.
A suspect in the carjacking, identified as 21-year-old Antonio Harris, was located and arrested Sunday. Harris has been charged with the carjacking and use of a firearm in commission of a felony, however further charges could come, authorities said.
Richmond Councilwoman Kim Gray, who represents the city’s 2nd District, spoke with 8News about how the tragedy has impacted the community.
“This is an assault on our entire community,” Gray said. “It’s heartbreaking to hear that such an innocent little life has been lost to gun violence yet again in our city.”
Pastor Robert Winfree of New Life Deliverance Tabernacle, said he was in close contact with the family after Saturday’s shooting.
“They are distraught,” Winfree told 8News. “We try to comfort them. But, that’s all we can do.”
“There are no words to express what they must be going through right now,” Gray said, speaking about the mourning family.
The death of Hill comes less than a year after 9-year-old Markiya Dickson was killed by a stray bullet in Richmond’s Carter Jones Park on Memorial Day. Gray told 8News that she believes harsher penalties could help prevent these types of crimes.
“I think many of these could be potentially be prevented with tougher penalties for these criminal perpetrators,” Gray told 8News. “We can’t bring back these precious lives that we’re losing in our city so anything that we can do going forward to prevent future acts. I think we need to be taking proactive steps to do so.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Major Crimes Detective J. Fultz at (804) 646-3929 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.