Community still reeling from violent week in Petersburg: ‘Families are impacted’

The Tri-Cities

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A violent week in Petersburg has left police and residents frustrated. Six shootings in the city led to one death and five people injured in just six days.

“The people in this environment is feeling more frightened, and those that don’t feel frightened feel like they have to be protective,” said resident Avontae Ferguson.

As of last Friday, the police department has taken more than 200 illegal guns off the street.

“It’s kind of sad. I’ve been living here the last three, four years now seeing Petersburg has a lot of potential,” said resident Robert Clingman.

Police Chief Kenneth Miller said enough is enough.

“When you come into our city, we don’t allow you to bring your poison, meaning drugs or lifestyle, into our city,” Miller told 8News.

“It’s great to hear that he’s taking action on all the violence going on in Petersburg,” said Clingman, who was also Miller’s student at Virginia State University.

Some said this goes beyond guns.

“Firearms aren’t the issue. You build the relationship with the kids and the people that have the firearms,” said Terrance Moore, a teacher and coach for Petersburg City Schools.

Moore said the youth see what is happening.

“I believe they’re aware of it,” said Moore, “Sometimes it’s just like survival of the fittest.”

Others agree it needs to start with the young people.

“The youth really don’t too have much guidance out here. They need more programs,” said Ferguson.

Chief Miller said there needs to be a change in culture.

“Families are impacted. We’re killing people, we’re killing opportunities. These young people here need an opportunity to grow,” he said.

In addition to the six shootings in six days, a man was found dead from a gunshot wound last Wednesday. Police ruled it accidental.

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