RICHMOND, Va. -- Shockoe Bottom merchants are calling for change after a triple shooting near the 17th Street Farmers’ Market early Sunday morning.
Officers were called to the intersection of North 17th and East Franklin Streets for a report of two people down just before 3 a.m. Sunday.
When police arrived, a man and woman suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The pair were transported to a local hospital.
While units were still at the scene, police received another call for a person shot.
That third victim, a 26-year-old man with life-threatening injuries, was transported to an area hospital in a personal vehicle.
The victim, identified as Robert D. Turner Jr. of the 2300 block of Fairfield Avenue later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Officials said the Medical Examiner will determine his exact cause and manner of death.
“It’s awful for the businesses, we only have a real problem down here from 1:30 to 3:00 in the morning,” said Shockoe Bottom neighborhood association president and Old City Bar owner David Napier.
Napier says some clubs in the area are the issue.
“These large night clubs are in violation of zoning, ABC, health department, overcrowding and nobody is doing anything about it,” said Napier.
“We deploy a lot of resources there and if somebody, excuse my language, is hell bent on shooting somebody they’re going to do it and I don’t care if I had a police officer on every corner,” said Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham.
Merchants have waited years for the 17th Street Farmers’ Market to be revitalized into an open air pedestrian plaza.
“Unfortunately, I wish I could do all of these things all at once but it does come down to money,” said Richmond mayor Levar Stoney.
"They’ve been very, very patient" said the mayor. "I request that, I need more patience from them as well. This is not the sort of thing that’s going to happen overnight but they’ve been patient and so when an incident like this occurs it’s not just bad for the one establishment it’s bad for everyone,” he added. “We’re going to do our best to help expedite our revitalization efforts down there but I just request patience.”
Napier said he’s been patient long enough.
“I may not be able to make it happen any faster, but I am going to be out there and taking people to task," said Napier. “It’s a very safe neighborhood. We’ve got great restaurants, nice variety and they’re all going to suffer now for months and months and months."
The Shockoe Bottom Neighborhood Association has scheduled a meeting for 10 a.m. Wednesday to discuss how to proceed.
"If this is what I'm stuck with, I'm not gonna be here that long," Napier said.
Neighbor heard 5 to 7 shots
Several people who live and work around the 17th Street Farmers' Market said they were frustrated by the violence in the city.
Kimberly Winn, who said she heard gunshots around 3 a.m., called 911.
"It was between five to seven gunshots and it was very consecutive,” Winn said. “And it was very loud."
Winn said the nearby clubs has already let out when the shooting happened.
"It's usually really rambunctious at that time, but it was quiet and it was settling down,” she said. “And then it was very loud… It sounded like it was right outside my window."
William Renfrow, who also heard the gunshots, said his car was damaged in the shooting.
"Dent on my car, blood all over it, my side mirror was ripped off," he said.
Police have not said if the victims are connected in any way or if they have any potential suspect information.
Winn said it is up to community members to step up and prevent future violence.
"Because this is ridiculous. I understand a lot of these people aren't from this neighborhood, but they come to the neighborhood and they need to respect that this is a very quiet area,” Winn said. “Police can't do it all. We need to be more proactive and more engaged in our community."
Police said no additional details would be released Sunday evening and detectives called the incident a death investigation.
Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call Major Crimes Detective J. Bridges at 804-646-4494 or contact Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or at http://www.7801000.com.