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What Mayor and faith leaders are asking the community to do amid violence

Posted at 6:18 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 18:34:36-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two men were shot, and later died, in less than six hours on the same exact block Sunday near Fulton in the city’s east end. Richmond Police continue to investigate and have said they are examining if and how the two shootings are connected.

Around 12:30 p.m. Sunday on the 1200 block of Admiral Gravely Boulevard, a 22-year old man was shot in the torso, according to RPD. He later died at the hospital.

Then, around 6 p.m., another man was shot at the same apartment complex. He too passed away at the hospital, according to police.

The two shootings are potentially the latest instance of violence in the city that resulted from payback or retaliation for a previous incident.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said “retaliation shootings” need to stop.

“Although overall crime in the city is down, that is of no comfort to anyone who is experiencing frequent gun violence in their community,” Stoney said.

He urged community members to come forward and report information, not matter where they spotted it.

“If you’ve seen something on social media, if you’ve seen something in-person, that you come forward to the Richmond Police Department and give us as much information as possible to stop this retaliation,” Stoney said.

Pastor Robert Winfree with New Life Deliverance Tabernacle said putting on funerals or vigils for young people in his community is wearing on him.

“We need to come up with a plan,” Winfree said. “Bring some reality to the aftereffects of a murder, the aftereffects of a shooting, and how devastating it is for the community.”

Even before the Sunday shootings in the east end, Winfree was working with Richmond faith leaders to form a program in which communities would “adopt” areas of the city to run violence prevention and mentoring programs year-round.

“That doesn’t mean Thanksgiving basket during Thanksgiving time or Christmas goodies during Christmas time,” Winfree said. “Prepare for war in times of peace, before it even happens. It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s a process.”

A process that begins with mentoring young people before they turn toward a path that ends in violence, according to Winfree. The pastor urged community members to begin working with youths in their neighborhood with or without local organizations.

“We can’t just start reaching for police to solve problems in our own community. We have to do that. If you said call, yeah that’s good you can call. But it’s after the fact,” he said.

Faith leaders interested in working with Winfree can call New Life Deliverance Tabernacle at 804-233-2730.

Anyone with information about the shootings is urged to call 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.