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Vigil held after young mother and infant killed in Richmond shooting

Posted at 11:14 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 10:35:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Denise Hill lost both her daughter and granddaughter in Tuesday night's violence on Richmond’s Southside; Wednesday she said that reality was setting in.

That’s where she attended a vigil, surrounded by family, friends and a community, and said that her healing process had begun.

"What happened to the real OGs in the streets because that ain't gangsta,” said a man at the microphone.

His words echoed throughout the courtyard where five innocent people were shot at the Belt Atlantic apartment complex off Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond.

30-year-old Sharnez "Shy-Shy" Hill was the first to die, and tragically, hours later her three-month-old daughter Neziah died from the injuries to her tiny body.

Denise Hill, Sharnez's mother and Neziah's grandmother told me off she believes Shy-Shy came back to take Neziah with her to heaven, because the two were inseparable.

“Memories, memories, will keep her alive," Hill said.

A makeshift memorial of balloons waved in the wind, over a backdrop of bullet holes in windows and evidence of a weapon so powerful, that bullets blasted out chunks of concrete steps.

“Right now this is not the end of the investigation, because we still have outstanding suspects,” said Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith.

While he was on a community walk through the area with faith leaders and officers Wednesday, Smith announced the arrest of three of five suspects.

All three been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

“Disheartening? I don't think that's a word I'd use right now,” said Smith. “I don't think it describes the emotions of Richmonders right now. You know, someone sent me a picture of that darling three-month-old and it really did cut deep."

Anger and sadness also run deep in this Southside community, where many gathered to lift up multiple families out of a horrific tragedy.

“What you're doing here today, showing us love for one another but for more than that, god we thank you for what you are about to change,” said a man at the microphone. “Not just here in Midlothian, but communities alike."

Two of the men arrested have a criminal history: Donald Hemmings was currently on probation in Chesterfield for a weapons charge, and Shyheem Martin was arrested for two felony drug charges last year in Henrico.

One was reduced to a misdemeanor, the other ‘nolle-prossed.’ Martin was sentenced to 12 months in jail in January with 11 months suspended.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family to help with funeral costs. You can find that here.