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Mayor Stoney calls on community action following Tuesday gun violence: 'It does start with us'

Posted at 12:32 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 12:50:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A 30-year-old mother and her three-month-old daughter were killed Tuesday in a shooting outside the Belt Atlantic apartments, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said at a Wednesday morning press conference.

Mayor Levar Stoney thanked the Richmond Police Department at Wednesday morning's press conference, calling Tuesday's incident a tragedy.

"It's a tragedy when a mother and now a child is gone because of indiscriminate gunfire without any regard for human life in the neighborhood," Stoney said. "The story, unfortunately, is reoccurring too many times in our community that our children can't simply go out and play, enjoy themselves and ask for kids just to be kids."

A 29-year-old woman, a 15-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl were also injured in the shooting. At this time, they are considered to be in stable condition, the chief said. The names of the shooting victims have not been publicly released.

"I will never understand why this sort of gunplay occurs so much in our communities," Stoney said. "And although there has been progress, firearms find their ways into our communities far too often."

Stoney said that while police played a vital role in Tuesday's incident, members of the community also have a job to help restore justice. He urged anyone with information to come forward to share details with the police.

"I really do believe it could have been avoided," Stoney said. "Now, there are Richmonders left to pick up the pieces."

While he said that action to prevent gun violence is being taken at the local and national level, Stoney said in order for change to happen, community members need to play an active role in establishing a culture of safety.

"This begins with us," Stoney said.

When asked how the problem of gun violence in Richmond could be addressed, Stoney said that a key step is to value life more.

"Think about already, this is April 2021," Stoney said. "How many teens have been involved in gun violence or have been victimized by gun violence in our city? That means the value of a life, even at the teenage years, the value of that life is getting lower and lower."