HOPEWELL, Va. -- As the investigation into who shot and killed an eight-year-old girl continued Friday night in Hopewell, the child's family remained shocked and sickened by the senseless violence.
"Please stop. They need to stop. It's innocent lives being shot and killed," the victim's aunts, Tasha and Keasa, said hours after the shooting. "Y'all just killed an innocent baby. It's a family member and it hurts. We're hurting, and it's not fair."
The child, whose name has not been publically released, was outside playing on Freeman Street Friday afternoon when witnesses said a car drove by and someone shot the girl.
The child was pronounced dead at the hospital.
"We did have some reports of a silver sedan with tinted windows in the area," Hopewell Police Capt. Damon Stoker said. "It doesn't get any tougher than when you have young ones involved."
Friday's fatal shooting was a tragic end to what's been a violent year in Hopewell — a city of just about 23,000 people.
Police statistics showed there have been nine homicides in Hopewell in 2022.
There were two the previous year.
Violent crime in general was up 71 percent year over year.
The night before the child was shot, there was a nonfatal shooting just a few blocks away.
Police are asking neighbors with doorbell cameras to check to see if they captured anything that could help the investigation.
"You take an innocent child's life," the little girl's stunned relatives said Friday. "She would [have] a birthday next week on the third. I was planning a party to celebrate."
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