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Richmond police warn of dangers of celebratory gunfire: 'We want everyone to be safe'

Posted at 11:57 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 11:03:17-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Police Department and the mother of a young mother killed by celebratory gunfire last New Year's Eve are asking people not to take part in the tradition this year.

"It's never appropriate to fire a gun to celebrate the New Year. We want everyone to be safe this year and we want to ensure that that tragedy doesn't reoccur," said RPD Capt. Rick Edwards, commander of the First Precinct.

Edwards said he responded to the call last year that that involved La-Tiyah Hood, 28. He said police were called at 12:13 a.m. on January 1, 2020 to the 2500 block of North Avenue. Hood had been shot and was taken to the hospital where she died.

Edwards said Hood her death was the result of celebratory gunfire and they recovered 200 shell casings from the yard where it happened.

"A massive amount of gunfire and unfortunately, Miss Hood, tragically lost her her life at that that night," added Edwards. "Even the person who ended up killing her was devastated and wished that he could go back in time and make a different choice because it cost Miss Hood her life."

Edwards said city-wide, police received 226 calls for random gunfire on New Year's Eve, with the majority happening in the First Precinct.

"The vast majority of those were between about 10:30 at night and 1 a.m.," added Edwards.

Hood's mother, Stephanie Brandon, also released a statement ahead of the one-year anniversary:

“The promise of a new year changed my life forever. A celebration cheated 2 sons from their mom, 10 siblings of their sister, 4 nieces of their auntie, a grieving mother of her beloved daughter.

The family birthdays, holidays, family celebrations will be less our love because of another's careless mistake. This mom will miss her sons’ weddings, children born, graduations.

Happy New Year 2021, please bring our family joy and peace of the thought of lessons learned from this tragedy.

We love and miss you Ta Ta. Rest in Heaven. RIH”

"We want to humanize her for everyone else who might be thinking that this is a fun thing to do. So, we hope that that we can use this tragedy to avoid the next one," added Edwards.

Edwards said the First Precinct will have extra officers out for New Year's Eve and RPD asks people to call 911 "if they have information on individuals who plan to behave in this illegal and reckless way or if they hear shots fired.”