Richmond mayor addresses spike in violence, homicides: 'it's senseless'

Posted at 11:59 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 00:07:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Some Richmond residents say it feels like Groundhog Day in the city: violence, followed by a vigil, then repeat.

But Mayor Levar Stoney on Monday said he was hoping to break that vicious cycle.

At a service for Whitcomb Court murder victim Tim McMorris Monday afternoon, Stoney addressed what's been an exceptionally violent few weeks in Richmond.

"The question I have is the question on the minds of those who live here and throughout this city: how many more?” Stoney asked.

Standing in the rain on Bethel Street Monday, a week after a mass shooting and murder in the Whitcomb Court housing project, dozens of people, many of them friends or part of the McMorris family, listened intently listen to the mayor.

"How many more brothers, how many more sisters, how many more children, how many more tears, how many more families?" Stoney said.

August has been a violent month in the capital city with nearly a dozen homicides in two weeks and countless more gunshot victims.

The mayor himself said he witnessed a shooting Friday night.

"I was at Grace Street the other night,” Stoney said. “I called 911 when it happened and I’m sure others did as well. It breaks my heart because it's senseless."

Some people living in the city said they're tired of running for cover.

"It's disgusting, it's sickening,” said one vigil attendee. “And yes Black Lives Matter then and Black Lives Matter now. So I'm asking the Black Lives Matter people: this is where the fight is, where are you?"

"This has got to stop!" was a chorus heard repeatedly Monday night.

Stoney said he and the police chief met Monday morning to go over policing strategies and discussed flooding the embattled housing projects with a stronger police presence.

According to the mayor, a troubling trend in all of this is that the perpetrators are taking to social media.

"We need folks in these communities who know these individuals that are going back and forth on Twitter and Instagram,” Stoney said. “I need you to step up and talk to your police department. If you see something, you don't have to give your name or anything, just speak up and think about this family that's grieving here today."

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