Teens account for nearly half of 2012 murder arrests in Newport News

Posted at 6:09 PM, Dec 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-28 07:18:37-05

They are just kids themselves, but their crimes touch every generation.

13-year-old LaMonee Johnson-Chisolm--killed in November by a 15-year-old boy, according to Newport News Police.

57-year-old James Dix--shot to death, investigators say, by a 17-year-old.

Just part of a disturbing statistic in Newport News…that nearly half of those arrested for murder weren't even old enough to drink.

2012 brought 20 murders, with police making arrests in 12 of those cases, and of those arrests, five happened to be teenagers.

“You put a gun in a kid’s hand who doesn't have any training, who is immature, who doesn’t think about their actions, who doesn’t think about the consequences, that’s what happens. Once you pull that trigger, you can't take that bullet back,” said Newport News Assistant Police Chief Lorenzo Sheppard.

Sheppard admits that over the past decade, teenagers have become more brazen and violent, and he says it comes down to a mix of gangs, drugs and guns.

“We have really been trying to combat those major players when it comes to shootings and homicides involving youth in community,” said Sheppard.

Even though 2012's numbers were relatively high, Newport News police won’t call the rising amount of murders a trend.

Looking at 2011’s numbers, there were 17 murders and only one teen arrested.

In 2010, there were 23 murders and five teens arrested.

Even though the numbers have gone up and down in recent years, Newport News Police have continued with their plan of education and prevention.

“We are trying to make sure that guns aren’t available to our youth on the streets,” said Sheppard.

Cops also want the community to know--it’s not just a police problem.

“It starts out with family, the kid’s parents. That has to be first and foremost,” said Sheppard.