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As city, faith leaders gather to discuss violence, another killed in Richmond

As city, faith leaders gather to discuss violence, another killed in Richmond
Posted at 11:07 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 23:23:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- In broad daylight on Tuesday afternoon, a man was shot multiple times outside a home in the 1800 block of Rogers Street.

He died at the hospital across town, while at the same time, a room full of city and faith leaders was trying to come up with a plan to stop the recent spate of violence.

“Since February 2020, we've had 111 lives lost due to gun violence,” said Pastor Cierra Smith-Bond. “Sometimes, we don't understand the significance, so today I asked people to stand in remembrance."

With Tuesday’s killing, the number of lives lost is now 112 in the last 20 months.

“We have to move beyond ‘stop the violence,’ we've been saying it way too long,” Smith-Bond said. “We need to get to the root cause of what is really going on. It is plaguing our community and that each time you decide to pick up a gun, it not only impacts victims but their communities as well."

Smith-Bond was one of many who were included in a group of leaders at Second Baptist Church on the Southside.

"The problem still exists," said one leader. "These young folks here, he's right, they're not gonna listen to me, but they will to him because he lives in the community," said another.

Many said they needed to get on the same page and to start implementing solutions fast, which they said should include mental health care, social services, jobs and after-school activities for children.

Richmond Sheriff Antionette Irving said the list of needs was long.

"We are not going to solve these problems unless we can sit down together at the same time, to communicate what the needs are for the individuals in these situations,” Irving said. “We then need to get the funding to provide the resources to them. That's why it's so frustrating!"

"We have to continue to find out the inside problems because the things happening today are not caused by what's going on today,” said Irving. “It's an environmental situation but also on the inside of the person. We have to understand the root causes and environment the individual comes from. The trauma an individual has dealt with in their past correlates with them as they grow."

Tuesday’s killing was the 66th of the year so far, matching the tally for all of 2020.