RICHMOND, Va. -- Among the busy crowd of shoppers and lunchers at White Oak Village Monday, a boarded-up window where 16-year-old Jamirah Washinton was shot and killed in broad daylight two days prior. The teen was one of 13 people shot over the holiday weekend throughout Central Virginia.
“My heart drops. You know she’s 16; she’s barely older than some of my grandkids,” said John Randolph, who had brought some friends by a mobile phone store near the scene.
“You think about the family, the friends, everybody else affected in the bigger picture,” said Deane Flickinger, who had stopped to grab lunch.
Shootings took place in neighborhoods, on highways and at the shopping mall in at least four different localities. At this point, investigators have not released any evidence that shows any of them are connected. Most appear to be isolated or targeted incidents.
“You see a peak in shootings. Then you go a long while and don’t have any. It’s hard to pinpoint right?” said Flickinger.
The most recent shooting occurred on Interstate 64 at the Shockoe Valley bridge at 4 a.m. Monday. State police said 23-year-old Timothy Richardson was a passenger in a vehicle that was shot at by a sedan in the middle/center lane. Richardson died at the hospital, police said.
“A Kia Optima that was traveling westbound in the left lane was fired upon by another vehicle in either the center or right lane. We do not have a description at this time, other than it was a sedan,” said Sgt. Dylan Davenport with VSP.
Sgt. Davenport said the tragic weekend takes its toll on investigators, families and the communities.
“Every scene that we’re dealing with, there are people involved, there are families involved, whose lives will never be the same when their loved one does not return home to them, and we want to do the best investigation we can to provide answers to that family,” she said.
While police across the region search for answers, community members at White Oak, where the “smart and bright” young woman lost her life, pondered a possibly unanswerable question surrounding all the violence: why?
“Ain’t going to see her life no more, at 16-years-old,” said Randolph with a deep sigh.
“It’s senseless it seems like, right. I’m sure the person that did the shooting probably has some regrets; you would hope. But sort it out on the playground, not with guns,” Flickinger said.
Anyone with information about any of the weekend incidents is asked to contact the police department conducting the investigation or call your local Crime Stoppers or Crime Solvers hotline.