Richmond elementary students return to class after deadly shooting

Posted at 12:52 PM, Oct 17, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- Westover Hills Elementary School students returned to the classroom Monday morning. On Friday, a woman was killed and a man was injured by gunfire near the front entrance of their Richmond school.

“I thought that there were at least a few places that were still sacred, that were off limits," Richmond School Board member Jonathan Young said. “If you're a parent this morning, and you have concern relevant to releasing your child's hand, I get it.”

Friday's shooting happened just 45 minutes before the end of the school day.

All students exited the building through a back door.

"They weren’t letting any of the kids out unless we came and picked them up, so that’s what I did to make sure my kid was good," parent Lakea Brown said.

Young and other school leaders greeted children as they walked back in the door on Monday. There was also a police officer parked in front of the school.

“I went over to shake his hand and say God bless, thank you for being here," Young said. “The police officer I spoke to, he said I so appreciate you saying that. Because the truth is right now, for this entire area. There are only two of us on the job.”

Young added Westover Hills did not have a school resource officer. A situation he called concerning.

Brown said she too supported an increased police presence.

“I don't want it to die down, like after anything, I'm pretty sure police will be gone," Brown said. "That is, you know, expected. But at the same time, it's like, what if it happened again? Y'all are gonna be back around here. Why don't they just stay?"

The Richmond School Board planned to discuss safety during its Monday night meeting.

“We're here to do reading, writing, and arithmetic," Young said. "But the reality is that our first and foremost job is to keep our children safe.”

At Monday's meeting, the Richmond School Board will be discussing results of a student and teacher school safety survey.

Young said at George Wythe High School, which is less than two miles from Westover Hills Elementary, 14 percent of teachers and 33 percent of students felt comfortable going to school.

Richmond Policereported 45 homicides in the City of Richmond so far in 2022. That compares to 64 homicides during the same time period in 2021.

Richmond Police crime stats also indicated there have been 263 aggravated assaults in which a gun was involved. so far in 2022. That number was 236 at this time last year.

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