RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Another deadly shooting in Richmond has left a family desperate for justice.
Richmond police responded to the Belt Atlantic Apartments around 12:45 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6. At the scene, officers found 31-year-old Rashard Lewis and another man with a gunshot wound. Lewis was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.
“He was my hero, my protector, my best friend, my lifeline, my everything,” said Devona Lewis, the victim’s wife. “I would give anything to bring him back. I don’t care what it would cost me. I would give it all to have him back.”
In an emotional interview, Lewis’ wife told 8News that he was a loving father of 4 children. She described the pain of telling her young children of the tragedy as she searches for answers about her husband’s death.
“I would like justice to be served the right way. He didn’t deserve any of that,” she said.
Saturday’s deadly shooting is just one of the latest examples of violent crime in the City of Richmond. In a press conference on Monday morning, Chief Gerald Smith detailed the crime rates in the city, noting an uptick in major crimes.
This year to date, RPD is reporting 4,665 cases of major crime — this is compared to 3,641 reports at this time last year.
While property crime, like vehicle and package theft, saw the biggest uptick, the chief focused heavily on gun violence and the efforts to prevent it.
“We need to get a hold of the gun crime,” Smith said. “That is a big concern in Richmond and across the country, too.”
RPD is reporting a static homicide rate this year at 31 cases, but of those homicides, 28 of them involved a firearm.
While the chief acknowledged that more work needs to be done to combat this, he also touted his department’s efforts, like “Operation Red Ball,” as a success.
ORB was launched after two boys were killed in a fatal shooting in Richmond’s east end in November. The operation’s goal is to target people illegally possessing guns and to prevent violent crime. According to RPD, 177 have been arrested and 532 guns taken off the street so far through the program.
“We have intel that comes into the police department, as well as confidential informants. We also have strong community ties where current members of the community come to us with information about who is pulling the trigger,” Smith said. “This is evidence-based. We’ve gone back five years to see where the violent crime has occurred.”
The chief said the police department is also upping its footprint in the community with outreach and youth programs.
“We cannot police our way out of this…it takes the community to actually make a difference,” he said.