Grandmother of three Southside shooting victims speaks out, community holds rally as police probe continues


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Families and a Southside community mourn the loss of a young mother and her infant child as city police scour evidence even after three men were arrested Wednesday.

After a barrage of bullets flew through a courtyard at The Belt Atlantic Apartments complex, the grandmother of three victims flew to Richmond from Atlanta, Georgia.

Inez Christian-Clarke, a longtime Richmond resident, spoke of her granddaughter Sharnez Hill, 30, and great-granddaughter Neziah Hill–just three months old when the pair were killed Tuesday.

“She was my jewel, she was a precious girl,” Clarke told 8News.

Clarke’s 11-year-old great-granddaughter Deniya Hill was also hit by a bullet. Cousin Donte McCutchen told 8News she was shot in the hand, and is in recovery.

But Tuesday’s tragedy is not Clarke’s first brush with violence upon her family; her son, Elwood Hill Jr., was killed in Gilpin Court thirty years ago.

“The devil didn’t get no glory last night, he just gave me ammunition to run on…” Clarke said. “[When] someone throw[s] you a ball and you don’t want it, don’t catch it. Well, they threw me a rough pill and I decided I didn’t want to swallow it, so I went after it and did something,” she said.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney called the violence “indiscriminate gunfire without any regard for human life,” Wednesday morning during a press conference with Police Chief Gerald Smith.

Three men face charges for conspiracy to commit murder, though police said additional charges are pending as they search for possible additional suspects.

After gunmen reportedly opened fire from an apartment breezeway in, McCutchen Chief Smith offered a similar message.

“It is our goal that we will hold all of those who are responsible accountable for this,” Smith said alongside Stoney Wednesday.

“We can’t bring them back, the least we can do is get justice,” McCutchen said.

The 29-year-old woman, as well as the 11 and 15-year-old girls shot are said to be in stable condition.

Members of the community gathered on Wednesday night to remember the victims and call for an end to violence in the city. Several people showed up holding signs to join in prayer and a moment of silence for the lives lost.

Many people spoke, sharing their sadness and shock in the wake of the tragedy. One speaker shared that they could not imagine what the family is going through after losing two members. The event lasted around an hour and a half.

There were some city leaders and school board members in attendance.

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