‘I’m tired of my friends dying’: Richmond residents react to recent rash of violence


RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – Richmond residents gathered with non-profit organization leaders and clergy Saturday afternoon to promote mentorship for young people in the wake of the killings at the Belt Atlantic apartments on the city’s Southside Tuesday.

The message was to stop the violence, remembering the victims of Tuesday’s shooting — 30-year-old Sharnez Hill and her 3-month-old daughter. The shooting also sent three other victims to the hospital.

A 29-year-old woman and two young girls, ages 11 and 15, were also shot during the incident and remain in stable condition.

Lawrence Robinson is the chairman of the New Black World Order, an organization that partners with the Black Power Movement and the Black Panther Party. Robinson is the father of 23-year-old At’Taysiyah Dye, who was found dead in her car in Richmond in February.

He said stopping the violence isn’t going to take place talking to older people, but instead talking to the youth about respecting life and managing their emotions.

“We can stop the violence by going directly to the youth because the rap music, some of the degeneracy of the culture is going straight to the youth. We have to go to the youth because the youth represents the future. They represent change, and that’s where change is going to take place,” Robinson told 8News Saturday.

A woman holds several balloons listening to a speaker at the “Stop the Violence” event Saturday afternoon. (Photo: 8News Reporter Sabrina Shutters)

Robinson is still demanding justice and searching for answers over his daughter’s death.

“If I wasn’t a god-fearing man, I would’ve fell out by now, but I’ve got to stay strong for my daughter, to turn her life into something meaningful, and that is to bring life back to a community that’s dying in senseless violence,” he said.

Donte McCutchen, Hill’s cousin and Pastor at Love Cathedral Community Church, was also at the event Saturday. He wants to challenge the community to start programs for the youth and continue mentoring them.

“It seems like in tragedy, so many people come out,” he said. “And then when tragedy I guess is seemingly over, then we don’t see them, we don’t hear them, you know, there’s nothing that’s going on.”

18-year-old Saddiya McCalpine is a youth advocate and spends her time going out into the community to various events, sharing ideas on what can be done to help and provide for the youth in the community.

McCalpine said she’s saddened by the recent violence and that the death of the 3-month-old hits home.

“I’m tired of my friends dying or going to funerals and vigils because a teen was upset or they just wanted to shoot because they were upset and mad and angry,” she said.

Richmond Police have arrested and charged three young men in connection to the shooting that claimed the life of Sharnez Hill and her baby Tuesday. They are still seeking more suspects.

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