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Gun violence happens 'within small social network,' pastor says after spate of shootings

Pastor: 'We should be very concerned and we should have an urgency of what we’re going to do'
Posted at 8:38 PM, Oct 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-03 14:53:18-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Police responded to five shootings across several jurisdictions in the span of several hours Friday night into Saturday morning that have faith leaders calling for an end to the violence.

Ralph Hodge is the pastor of Second Baptist Church and said he heard the shootings over the scanner Friday night.

“Once again, It’s really disheartening," Pastor Hodge said. "One of the things I routinely do is I kind of watch the police scanner and the police blotters.”

The first shooting that happened Friday night happened around 10:30 p.m., when Henrico Police said a juvenile was shot along the 1100 block of Nine Mile Road. His injuries are non-life-threatening.

Several minutes later, Henrico Police said they responded to a domestic-related call in the 2200 block of Shirleydale Avenue, where they found 47-year-old Maria Elaine Gillette dead, with signs of trauma.

Police later located and arrested 59-year-old James stevenson, who was charged with second-degree murder.

In Richmond police responded to the 400 block of North 12th street for a shooting, but found a male inside his car with a gunshot wound, outside of VCU Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police believe he drove himself there after being shot at another location.

A few minutes after midnight, police in Chesterfield said a shooting occurred along the 6500 block of Watchrun Court, where a person was shot, who is facing non-life-threatening injuries.

The fifth shooting happened around 1 a.m., along the 2000 block of Mechanicsville Turnpike at the River City Market and Eatery.

Second Baptist Church Pastor Ralph Hodge
Second Baptist Church Pastor Ralph Hodge

“When you look at gun violence, often times it's happening within a small social network of people," Pastor Hodge said.

Hodge is also a member of Richmonders Involved in Strenthening Communities (RISC) and says now is the time to come together and find solutions to gun violence.

"What we don’t want to do is normalize violence where it no longer effects us or no longer causes us concern," Hodge said. "And we should be very concerned and we should have an urgency of what we’re going to do."

He adds that his group will be hosting a round table discussion later this month as an effort to combat the gun violence.

"We want to make sure that we’re building a safe community where our children can thrive and our families can feel safe and comfortable," Hodge said.

The round table discussion will be Tuesday October 19th, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. To register, click here.

Anyone with information about the shooting on Nine Mile Road and on North 12th Street is urged to call Major Crimes Detective Higgins at 804-646-7570 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 newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.