NORFOLK, Va. — One year later, a memorial for Sierra Jenkins, Devon Harris and Marquel Andrews still sits outside Chicho’s on Granby Street.
The three were killed in the crossfire after gunshots erupted outside the bar on March 19, 2022. Two others were hurt.
Sierra was a journalist for The Virginian-Pilot. Her father, Maurice Jenkins said she would have turned 26 last Monday, March 13.
“I’ve never in my life gone through anything that could make you feel this bad, or hurt you for this long,” he said.
Since the senseless shooting and other high-profile crimes downtown, Norfolk city leaders have made sweeping changes to help make downtown safer.
Portable surveillance cameras were put on Granby Street, enforcement of code violations at bars and restaurantswere ramped up, and more police have been patrolling downtown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
“That definitely does make us feel safer just knowing that if someone is wanting to commit a crime, they wouldn’t commit it right in front of a police officer; they’d be less likely to,” said Kelvin Fonville of Norfolk. “So, seeing a bigger police presence, seeing more people, it definitely does make me feel safer.”
Sean Davis, who lives in Norfolk, has also noticed the changes and said he’s starting to feel more comfortable when he goes out.
“It’s honestly trial and error in my opinion,” Davis said. “The little steps they’re making, I think, are pretty good. I like the idea of the cameras and the police actually being on [the] ground out here, because on Saturday or Friday, it’d be jumping.”
For Jenkins, however, the added safety measures are too little too late.
“I’m not going to pat them on the back for doing something that they should have already done,” Jenkins said. “You failed us for not having working cameras on a busy entertainment street like Granby Street.”
Though he’s hopeful the changes will make a difference, Jenkins said gun violence can happen to anyone, including innocent bystanders like his daughter Sierra – a journalist who had a promising future.
“She was a great person,” he said. “She was a young, determined person that was just out here working diligently toward achieving goals and being successful.”