RICHMOND, Va. -- People who live in Richmond's Bellemeade neighborhood said things need to change after a high school student was fatally shot inside a home early Sunday morning.
Police were called to the 2200 block of Afton Avenue on the city's Southside for the report of a person shot just before 2:25 a.m., according to Officer Phon Hoonsan with Richmond Police.
"Officers arrived and found a juvenile female inside a structure, suffering from a gunshot wound," Phon said. "She was pronounced dead at the scene."
The Medical Examiner will determine the child's exact cause and manner of death, Phon said.
Crime Insider sources tell CBS 6 that the victim was inside the home when someone opened fire on the home.
"You can't even be safe in your own home. This is a serious issue," said William Bailey, who lives in the building next to the one that was shot at.
Because the victim is a juvenile, police cannot release her identity and family members on scene said they did not want to talk.
However, a spokesperson for Richmond Public Schools said the victim was a 17-year-old girl who attended George Wythe High School.
One neighbor who did not want to be identified said their child was friends with the victims, but had not broken the news to her.
"How do you even explain anything to someone that is like this hard, especially when it's a kid," said the neighbor. "You don't. All you got to do is just be strong, you know, and just let them go through their emotions and be there for them."
Neighbors said that the issue of gun violence is not a new one in the area — pointing out bullets holes in their cars or on different structures. They added that a man was killed on the same block in December 2021 and a 15-year-old boy was killed one block away just over a year ago.
"For this to happen right here. Right next door. It's scary. It's very scary," said Bailey, who has lived in the neighborhood for five years. "It's been a problem in the neighborhood. But this is like, really, really close. This is close to home. So, it, kind of, hits different."
Bailey added that people, even kids, have numbed to the sound of gunfire. He, and others, said they wanted increased patrols from police and action from the property management.
"I just hope that some kind of action, or you know, that this is the push that maybe everyone needs in order to see that these type of situations are going to keep happening until something changes significantly," said Bailey. "Be here often. Not just during the election season, not just when something like this happens — but you have to actually be here. You can't fix something if you don't understand it. I can say something, anybody can say something, but if you're not here to see for yourself and experience it for yourself, then you really don't know what to fix."
CBS 6 has asked RPD and the property management about the neighbors concerns and are waiting to hear back.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to call Major Crimes Detective A. Coates 804-646-0729 or contact Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email email@example.com to send a tip.