Police respond to Church Hill resident claims

Posted at 6:42 PM, May 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-15 18:42:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Following a brick-hurling rampage Saturday night that left many Church Hill homes and cars damaged, neighbors in that community want an explanation why police didn’t respond to emergency calls.

Kirk Sparrow, who recently moved to the area and had his car vandalized during the weekend outburst, told CBS 6 he called police twice -- once as the activity started to develop and then again in the thick of the action -- without ever seeing a police unit arrive.

“The bottom line is we did not get a squad car on this block, and I watched those young fellows walk down the street, heading east, without a single intervention that I could tell by local law enforcement,” said Sparrow.

Neighbors living nearby, who also suffered damage to their property, relayed similar frustrations on Monday.

Lieutenant Ronnie Armstead, who’s stationed at the Richmond Police Department’s First Precinct Headquarters on Q and 25th Streets, said that police officers absolutely responded to the emergency calls.

In fact, Armstead said the response came 11 minutes after the first calls, and involved three to four police units.

“When they first got there, the first thing the officers wanted to do was start circulating the area,” explained Armstead. “They were trying to locate suspects before actually going to the victims.”

The initial calls to the Richmond Police Department were for ‘vandalism.’

Armstead said vandalism doesn’t register as a high-priority code, unlike threats of  violence.

“If you feel like, ‘hey my life is being threatened, or my family is being threatened, I feel unsafe, I got a mob walking down the street,’” said Armstead, “then that will certainly put a higher priority on that call.”

Residents like Sparrow hope the rampage -- which did not result in any injuries -- will serve as a point of growth for improving communication, and response time, for future incidents.

“That’s exactly the point we want to make, what can we do to further assist law enforcement so that we can help them help us,” posed Sparrow. “That’s where we want to go.”

Thus far, police have made no arrests in the case, but the investigation according to Armstead is ongoing.