RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond family wants answers after their 17-year-old son was found shot to death in a trash can.
The shooting happened on North 23rd Street, near Fairfield Court in Richmond’s East End on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Family has identified the victim as Armstrong High School student, Tamel Durant.
“We need answers. We don’t have the answers,” said Daytoria Durant, the stepmother of the victim. “Tamel was not a threat to anybody. It’s confusing. It’s a cycle. We are so distraught. We try to breathe and it starts all over again. I feel like I’m publicly drowning and my life is shattered.”
Durant spoke to 8News by phone Monday morning, still confused by the deadly shooting. She described the gut-wrenching moments leading up to the news.
“I watched the story unfold like everyone else. I saw the story come across my phone and my heart broke for whoever child that was. I came in the house…and Tamel wasn’t in there,” she said.
“About 6 o’clock, I called the emergency police response to find out what was going on. It wasn’t until about 8 o’clock when three guys come to my porch… and my life changed forever in that moment and it’ll never be the same.”
Days later, this family is still inconsolable.
“Nothing in my wildest dreams did I think that could be him,” she said.
According to the family, the teen had moved to Richmond two years ago from Brooklyn to live with his father. He could often be found playing basketball in the neighborhood and cheering on the Golden State Warriors, as well as listening to music.
“Tamel would’ve been graduating from Armstrong this year,” Durant said. “I was going to get everything to make sure he got all of the accommodations and anything he needed. I was fighting for him.”
Durant marks the latest victim in a disturbing trend of teen violence in the City. This year alone, four Richmond students have been shot and killed, and Durant is the second Armstrong student that will not be returning to the classroom.
Richmond Public Schools (RPS) superintendent Jason Kamras released a statement about the news on Thursday.
“I am only sharing this detail because it has already been widely reported — and because it speaks to the horrific reality that so many of our young people face each day,” Kamras said. “Our city is hurting. Despite the efforts of so many in our community — elders, government leaders, law enforcement, clergy, and more — the lethal pandemic of gun violence is tearing through our city at an alarming rate. Those who survive are left with scars — physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, relational — that will almost certainly never heal.”RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras
James Minor, President of the Richmond NAACP, also expressed outrage over the situation.
“There are people out here with mental health issues who just don’t value life at all. It’s just sad,” Minor said. “We’re talking about a human life. You can’t get a human life back.”
He said more resources for teens and more oversight from parents could be stepping stones to curbing the violence.
“Looking at Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram and find out what’s really going on because that child belongs to that parent and parents need to be held accountable,” he said.
At last check, Richmond police had not arrested anyone in connection to the shooting.
“I don’t know how we will get through this,” Durant said.
There will be a vigil for the victim at 6 p.m. at Chimborazo Park.
Stay with 8News for the latest.