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Neighbors stunned after mother of 5-year-old found murdered near playground

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Posted at 3:53 PM, Aug 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-24 15:53:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The two victims in Sunday’s double homicide have been identified by police.

At approximately 11:09 p.m. Sunday, officers were called to the 700 block of North 35th Street for the report of random gunfire.

Officers arrived and found a female and a male in an alley behind a row of homes, suffering from gunshot wounds.

The female, Rashamella L. Willingham, 26, of the 700 block of North 35th Street, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The male, William S. White, 31, of the 1600 block of North 27th Street, was transported to a local hospital but died shortly after arrival.

The Medical Examiner will determine cause and manner of death.

The couple was found near Bill Robinson Park, at the intersection of 35th Street and M Avenue.

Neighbor Kevin Harris heard the shots.

“She was always respectful to me,” Harris said of Rashamella, and added that she was very much in love with her 5-year-son.

"We do what we do to survive, it’s a very tight, very loving community,” Harris said. “People walk their dogs at night, and we don’t feel like anyone is going to attack us.”

“We don’t know what happened at this time,” Chief Alfred Durham said Sunday night. “I’ve spoken to a couple citizens and they just heard the gunshots. It’s a very quiet neighborhood. They are not used to this and unfortunately we are starting to see an increase of guns being used in assaults.”

Detectives are actively working leads in the case, and encourage anyone with information on this incident to call Major Crimes Detective Ed Aeschlimann at (804) 646-3351 or (804) 839-0959 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

Citizens can also text Crime Stoppers at 274637, using the key word “ITip” followed by your tip. Both Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.