RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A string of shootings in Richmond prompted the city’s top leaders to speak out during a prayer vigil Monday evening, held for a 53-year-old victim of gun violence.
Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Gerald Smith alluded in the city’s Whitcomb Court development that solving the issue of gun violence isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach. But as tears were shed over the shooting death of another person, Stoney and Smith say it’s going to take a team effort to turn the violence around.
“Cry, cry, cry. Cry all you want,” community advocate Charles Willis was heard saying.
The plea for peace came during a prayer vigil for Tim McMorris, who was shot dead last Monday in Whitcomb Court; four others were hit by gunfire including a 17-year-old.
McMorris’ mother Bettye Doggette said he was just crossing the street when shots rang out.
“There was no reason for my son to be shot down like a dog,” Doggette said. “There was no reason, no reason.”
Stoney asked the question: “How many more?”
With a litany of community issues to tackle, Mayor Stoney says there’s an urgent need for safety.
“Losing a life, the urgency now is to provide the sort of police presence necessary so our community members can feel safe,” Stoney said.
Just in the month of August, a child was shot in the arm, also at Whitcomb Court. Last week, a man was gunned-down near a 7-Eleven on Chamberlayne Avenue. Four shootings happened through the night last Friday into Saturday, and on Sunday in Southside, another man was shot dead.
On Monday, Police Chief Gerald Smith made a public request.
“And I ask that you stand, not just with me, but with each other because that is what it’s going to take. All of us, standing together to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” Smith said.
Stoney tells 8News he will “without a doubt,” commit to putting more cops on city streets. As for
Chief Smith, his agenda is to figure out who is responsible for last week’s Whitcomb Court shooting, why it happened and how further shooting incidents can be prevented.
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