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'Find something to help these kids,' police chief says about recent Richmond gun violence

Chief: 'We need to start putting some of the good American ingenuity to work and come up with ideas'
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Posted at 11:23 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 09:46:05-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Five people under the age of 21 have been killed in the city since Easter Sunday.

The latest shooting death was a 15-year-old boy in the 2300 block of Afton Avenue Thursday afternoon.

And people living in a Highland park community saying they are victims too. Neighbors described the damage caused by the recent shootings.

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Raymond Turner

"That's a bullet hole minus the storm glass window," Raymond Turner said. "That's shattered behind ya, bullet went into the frames."

He said he woke up Wednesday to what sounded like an early morning gun battle.

"Shortly after the barrage of whatever happened there was red and blue lights and the officers trying to sort out what happened here," Turner recalled.

18-year-old Vinshaun Johnson was found shot to death in the street in the 500 block of Montvale Avenue on that early Wednesday morning.

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Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith

"The summer is not here yet, but I think this is an appropriate time that we as a community in Richmond, need to start thinking about how we are going to address the crimes we are having with our youth," Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said.

Chief Smith addressed the violence Thursday at the scene of the fatal shooting on Afton Avenue.

The 15-year-old boy was rushed to VCU Medical Center where he later died.

And at the same time across town police investigate another shooting in the 1600 block of Pollock Street a little before 5:00 p.m.

Two people were shot, including a 16-year-old girl. Both were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

"We need to start putting some of the good American ingenuity to work and come up with ideas, outside the box thinking about what can we do for the summer?" Chief Smith said. "These kids have been inside for over a year, they're restless and it's starting to show. And I think it's the responsibility of the city and community and society to find something to help these kids."

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Richmond Police working multiple shootings Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Also caught in the crossfire are long time Richmonders fed up with violence. They are victims of collateral damage themselves as they have to make repairs windows and doors.

"Whoever did this ..What has he gained," Turner said. "It's an expense we have to incur for no good reason at all."

Chief Smith also addressed the residents and the homes that are caught in the cross hairs.

"Yes, the pattern we've seen this week with the violence we've seen is that there really is no pattern," Chief Smith explained. "Locations and communities that haven't seen violence, gun violence in a very long time all of a sudden are starting to experiencing it themselves. So it's not in the traditional areas."

Anyone with information on any of these shootings is asked to call police. You can call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or use the P3 Tips app. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.