RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two men were hospitalized after a midnight axe attack and shooting in Richmond’s North Highland Park neighborhood Tuesday.
First responders reported that they found one man with life-threatening gunshot wounds, and another who had been hit in the head with an axe, both near the roundabout at Dill and 3rd Avenues. As of Tuesday afternoon, the former was still fighting for his life in the hospital, but the latter was expected to survive.
One neighbor described hearing between eight and 10 gunshots, one right after another, before calling police to report the incident. But other nearby residents said they slept through the sirens.
“It’s kind of scary. It’s really scary because it’s really hitting close to home,” one woman, who lives just a few houses up from the roundabout, told 8News. “It was really creepy. It was a real uneasy, creepy feeling out here and everything.”
Debris and what appeared to be food wrappers could be seen in the street surrounding the roundabout several hours after the scene had been cleared.
“After midnight, ain’t nobody expecting nobody to even really be out here. Once the buses stop running, what is anybody being out here for anyway?” one resident said. “Got to be something wrong.”
Authorities said that two persons of interest were in custody Tuesday, but no charges were filed and the individuals were subsequently released.
One was questioned about the shooting, and the other was questioned about the axe attack. A spokesperson for the Richmond Police Department (RPD) said that the crimes are believed to be connected, but officers are still investigating a motive.
The men who were injured have not yet been identified, nor has information about their relationship to one another been released publicly.
“Whoever these people were, I think that they weren’t even from this neighborhood,” a resident said. “I really don’t think that they’re from here because nobody knows nothing about who are they.”
According to crime data from the City of Richmond, there had been 95 victims shot in aggravated assaults throughout the locality, as of June 12. That is a 3% increase from the same period of time in 2021. Meanwhile, while overall homicides are up from last year, those committed with a firearm have also increased — 85% as of this time in 2021, and 93% as of June 12.
“We haven’t made it to the summer,” a North Highland Park resident said. “We trying to make it to the Fourth of July, and they’re not giving us a chance. That’s crazy.”