RICHMOND, Va. -- A passerby who tried to help a man shot in front of a Southside Family Dollar store Thursday, says the victim was in bad shape before the ambulance got there.
“He took a gasp and closed his eyes,” said the man, who did not want to be identified. "He had a bullet hole under his right eye."
People working in that section of the Midlothian Turnpike, say they worry the warmer weather will rekindle violence in this embattled corridor. They say they saw a reprieve in that violence for the last month or so.
"This corridor of Midlothian has many problems,” said Selvin Paz, who works at a nearby tire store. "I do have some concern. The violence has to stop and the community has to come together."
Police say the man was shot multiple times in front of the store and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
A few miles away and about an hour later, police were called to Belt Boulevard and Stockton Street for a man shot in the alley. The victim suffered life-threatening injuries, and an errant bullet went through the window of a home and lodged in a kitchen table.
When asked if the Stockton Street incident might be connected to the earlier killing, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham demurred. "I don't believe there's correlation between the two," Durham said. "One shooting, one homicide, one aggravated assault is one too many."
People that work on the Southside want to see more police. "Put some police out here on foot and on bikes like they do around VCU. You don't see that. You just see cops show up after the fact. I bet if you see them on bike it will deter it."
Richmond's top cop says he’s open to those ideas. “I wish I could put a cop on every corner and have them walk the beat, but it's not reality,” Durham said. “Yes, we can increase visibility and we will do that."
Durham says a meeting with Councilmembers Michelle Mosby, Reva Trammel, Midlothian Turnpike business owners and himself, about the constant calls for service in that area will happen within two weeks.