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Parents on edge after deadly shooting at Chesterfield graduation party

Parents on edge after deadly shooting at Chesterfield graduation party
Posted at 6:35 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 18:35:29-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Some Chesterfield County parents were on edge following a shooting at a graduation party in Chester that left a 20-year-old dead and seven other young people hurt.

Norvell Cooper spent Monday afternoon shooting hoops at Harry G. Daniel Park. He said he comes to the basketball court when the world around him starts to feel heavy.

“That’s kind of one of my outlets," Cooper said.

After several mass shootings were reported across the United States over the weekend, he said he was saddened to hear about gun violence hits close to home, especially as a father of three in Chesterfield.

“It puts a lot of stuff into perspective," Cooper said. “That incident could have spilled over to wherever they hang out. My daughter is a teenager, so she possibly goes to some events like that.”

He said rising gun violence should be viewed as a top issue facing youth.

“People are tired of hearing about the violence," Cooper said.

Cooper believed that coming up with solutions is multi-faceted. For him, he would like to see strengthened relationships between communities and law enforcement, more attentive parenting, and finding a middle ground on gun laws.

“When it comes to weapons, it takes the operator to make stuff happen, but people have their own opinions," he said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, who represents parts of Chesterfield in the U.S. House of Representatives, said the shooting was another example of a pattern of violence seen nationwide.

“I have long been an advocate for reasonable, common-sense legislation related to gun policy," Rep. Spanberger said.

On the federal level, she said she has supported background checks across the board, closing loopholes in gun shows and online sales, raising the legal age to 21 to purchase assault rifles, limiting high-capacity magazines, and safe storage rules to prevent children from accessing firearms.

"We're going to be taking up a variety of pieces of legislation focused on child access, prevention, and safe storage. Responsible gun ownership is really founded on the idea of the responsibility of the gun owner. While we're talking about mass shootings and horrific murders, there's also the circumstance where children will get their hands on guns that are not stored safely, accidentally shoot themselves, accidentally shoot others, or, in some circumstances, use a firearm for suicide," Spanberger said. "And in the most egregious of all circumstances, certainly that we have seen here in Virginia, a minor can get their hands on a firearm and murder other children."

Many local law enforcement leaders and anti-violence activists have raised concerns about young people resorting to gun violence to settle disputes. CBS 6 asked Rep. Spanberger if there's anything that can be done outside of gun control to encourage youth to handle conflicts in a more productive way.

“So much of the conversation, particularly as it relates to youth, is recognizing the challenges that young people have been through," she said. "Certainly, investing in mental health and investing in community services are incredibly important.”

Cooper said he plans to be the change by showing up as a father to his kids.

"No matter how you raise them, it's just about what they take from it and being able to apply what you told them," he said. "It stresses me because you can't be everywhere at one time."

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