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Petersburg leaders address alarming rise in gun violence across city

Petersburg leaders address alarming rise in gun violence across city
Posted at 4:13 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 16:46:09-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- City leaders in Petersburg say they'll do everything they can to stop gun violence in the city.

In recent days, two have died and multiple people, including children, have been injured. While leaders say there isn't a simple solution, they are determined to bring a culture of change to the city.

"The violence and hatred in our city is not acceptable and must stop now. We need parents and adults to be actively involved in the lives of your children," Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham said.

The recent violence has sent a wave of fear across Petersburg and has put innocent victims in harm's way.

On Tuesday morning, Petersburg leaders addressed the violence at a press conference.

"I believe that one life lost is too many," Parham said.

In early April, Tyjuan Crenshaw Sr. lost his son to gun violence. 15-year-old Tyjuan Crenshaw II was killed in an April weekend shooting at a Petersburg apartment complex.

Tyjuan's parents said they called their son The Maestro because he set the tempo for the rest of the family.

"It's hard getting through the days without my son. Everybody wants a change but nobody's trying to make a change. Change starts with all of us," Crenshaw Sr. said.

An 18-year-old man was arrested in connection with the 15-year-old's death.

Petersburg was awarded a $300,000 grant aimed at resolving gun violence. As of now, the city is still working out how the money will be spent.

The city announced that they will move to restore funding to programs aimed at the youth. Police will also be stepping up to intersect those who are breaking the law.

"To assist us in reimplementing the PAL (Police Athletic League) program back into our community, that was such an important part of our community," Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian said. "You will see an increased law enforcement presence in our city while we combat these incidents of violence and remove these dangerous criminals from our community."

One major change could be coming to the city's current 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

"If I have my way as chief of police, with the amount of situations and incidents that we're having in our city, if we can be in accordance with the law, we would like to see kids in the house by 6 p.m. I know that creates heartburn for some people but I'd rather see your child inside the home than picking them up off the street," Christian said.

The Virginia State Police are now patrolling the streets of Petersburg. While the Petersburg chief admits that his department is short-staffed, he has warned that those who break the law will face consequences.

"If there's a crime committed outside a routine traffic offense, you will be arrested," Christian said.

The police chief also said in recent weeks, a 17-year-old brought a loaded gun to the high school. Just yesterday, an eight-year-old brought an airsoft gun to his elementary school.

The chief said part of the growing problem is parents not knowing what their kids are doing.

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