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Two Thursday homicides add to Richmond's alarming murder rate

Two Thursday homicides add to Richmond's alarming murder rate
Posted at 11:31 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 06:58:11-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond’s murder rate per capita is now worse than New York City, and running on the heels of cities like Philadelphia and Chicago.

Two more murders happened in the city on Thursday afternoon came, about three hours apart.

CBS6 spoke with the aunt of the city's 85th victim, a man who died in Whitcomb Court. She said that the time for talking has long passed.

“I'm here because that's my family member laying on the pavement,” said Sister Valerie Coley. Coley is a pastor with Divine Coming Ministries, who also served as a faith leader for the Richmond Police Department in the early 2000s.

During Chief Rodney Monroe’s tenure, she helped the city reduce violent crime, watching the murder rate plummet to all-time lows.

She said since then, the city has done a complete 180.

"Some of these people with their false measurements, talk about programs,” said Coley. “If their program was effective, then why are we having these high rates of crime?"

The murder rate now includes her nephew as a statistic: Vontae Lorenzo Harris, a father of two was fatally shot on Thursday afternoon on Bethel Street.

Crime Insider sources said that detectives believe it was a drive-by shooting.

Then, less than two hours later, Major Crimes detectives were on the scene of a shooting on Afton Avenue which would be the 86th homicide investigation for 2021.

A man was found dead with a gunshot wound inside an apartment.

A short time later, a man was loaded into an ambulance on Raven Street after police said he ran from Ford Avenue, looking for help.

He was gunshot victim number 239 of 2021, tying an all-time city record for people shot in one year, marking another grim milestone.

“Already you have a chaotic environment, with everything going on the streets and leaders aren't motivating them or pushing them forward to make them feel wanted,” Coley said. “And on top of that, they're the lowest paid, fighting the worst crime.”

City leadership is on the record saying the spike in crime is related to the pandemic, but Coley disagrees, saying control was lost during the 2020 protests.

In her eyes, the city hasn't recovered.