Community activist wants the public to step up and speak out about recent violence in Norfolk

Posted at 10:55 PM, Jul 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-08 23:43:52-04

It was a violent holiday weekend for the Mermaid City--15 people were shot in five separate incidents.

Norfolk police have made five arrests for the shootings, but they are now hoping the public will help them find others who were involved.

On July 5th at 12:01 A.M., people were shot by someone in a dark colored vehicle in the 1700 block of Vernon Drive. The following evening at 10:06 P.M., a matching vehicle was seen in the 1700 block of Jubilee Street. Shots were fired from the vehicle and one person was hit this time. Officers were able to catch up to the vehicle shortly afterward and three adults and one juvenile were arrested and charged. A firearm was recovered during the arrest.

In an unrelated incident, a man was arrested and charged after an 81-year-old female was shot in the 900 block of E. Virginia Beach Boulevard at 12:03 A.M. on July 5th. Several shots were fired during the incident and police are investigating a connection to the shooting of a man that occurred during the same time frame in the 900 block of Bagnall Road.

Authorities are now focused on an incident that occurred in the 800 block of W. 36th Street, where 7 people were shot at a block party.  Police say there was an argument and the suspect was told to leave. He fired multiple shots into the crowd.

Police are now asking the community to step up and speak up. But community activist Joe Johnson says it's just not that easy.

"In this situation nobody actually wants to come forth because if they come forth then they're a target," Johnson says.

For the past decade Johnson says he's organized "Stop the Violence" events for troubled neighborhoods in Norfolk like Park Place and Huntersville.

"We are actually talking about positive events so that we can stop having funerals because right now that's what we're doing,” Johnson says. “We're having more funerals than we're having events."

Johnson spoke out to Norfolk City Council members Tuesday in hopes they will step up, as well.

"They need to start showing up to these events,” Johnson says. “You know, let people get to know who you are and support positive events like that."

There are three ways to anonymously report information or tips: 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887), texting 274637 (CRIMES) by typing “NORFOLK” plus their tip, or by logging onto Any information that leads to an arrest can earn a reward of up to $1,000. Citizens may also call 9-1-1 and report an incident in anonymity. Citizens are not required to give their name to the dispatcher, and may also request that an officer not respond to their residence.