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Security gates at Belt Atlantic complex 'haven't worked in months'

Posted at 4:56 AM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 04:56:23-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- An eight-foot-long piece of fence is missing on the Midlothian Turnpike side of an apartment complex that was the site of unspeakable violence earlier this week.

Residents said the gates haven't worked in months, and while the apartment complex in the 4000 block has changed management and names in recent years, some fear it's heading back to the old "violent" days .

It's been two days and the community is still reeling from the horror of Tuesday evening's shootings, and making observations about the Belt Atlantic apartments fencing and entrance gates.

"They keep breaking and someone decided to make a hole in the fence over there,” said a resident who didn’t want to give her name. “That has been months where it hasn't been fixed."

The possible security breach has caught the attention of 5th District City Councilmember Stephanie Lynch and Chief of Police Gerald Smith

"I drive this community about once a week or once every other week,” said Smith. “We have noted several issues to the management office to include, but not limited to, gate security and bulk trash pick-up."

"We've seen security measures that could improve and my staff has brought me up to speed about the history of violence in this complex and our partnerships,” said Lynch. “We will continue to try and strengthen those."

The shooting of five innocent people enjoying the weather in a courtyard took the lives of a mother and her three-month-old daughter

Crime Insider sources said the three young men in custody for conspiracy to commit murder don't live at the apartments, and city leaders said that is a recipe for disaster.

"It shouldn't take a tragedy and absolutely shouldn't be our community getting rocked for changes to happen," said Lynch.

It is not clear how the suspects gained entry into the apartment complex Tuesday.

CBS 6 reached out to Belt Atlantic’s parent company in California for comment about the fencing Wednesday, and again Thursday.

We've not heard back.