NORFOLK, Va. - A horrific mass shooting happened six months ago Tuesday in the Young Terrace neighborhood of Norfolk.
The News 3 I-Team is asking: What has been done since the shooting to make people safer?
Haywood Odom Jr. lives in the area where the shooting took place in November. He said he heard the shots and witnessed the aftermath of the deadly shooting.
“I was horrified. I have never seen anything like that before - actually seeing somebody laying out,” said Odom.
The three women killed were Nichole Lovewine, 45; her partner, Detra Brown, 42; and their neighbor, Sarah Costine, 44.
Two other women, ages 39 and 19, were injured.
A 19-year-old man in a relationship with one of the victims was arrested for the shooting.
The community was horrified.
The I-Team has been investigating what has happened in the past six months.
Norfolk Police said they have been working with community advocates like Stop the Violence Team.
Stop the Violence Team Leader Bilal Muhammad said over the past six months, they have been working to target youth.
He said he wants to guide them at an early age to be a positive influence in their lives.
He said they took a group of kids to a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game, are planning a youth forum on June 4 and plan to open outreach offices in Young Terrace and other neighborhoods.
He said they would like to see more cameras in neighborhoods that have a lot of crime similar to what was done in Downtown Norfolk after a violent shooting on Granby Street in March that claimed the life of Virginian-Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkins. She was a bystander to senseless gun violence.
The incident happened near the Chicho's Pizza, and it took the life of semi-pro football player, Devon "Malik" Harris of Portsmouth, too.
Additionally, three more people were hospitalized after the shooting. Marquel Andrews died in the hospital on April 12.
Muhammad said more cameras in the city would deter crime and help police solve cases.
Monet Johnson is a leader with New Virginia Majority. She says different sections of town are treated very differently.
“I think Granby Street was a very good example of the city being like something should be done about this. This is a big deal, and while both of those cases were Black women, the neighborhood was valued more. Granby Street is not somewhere where this is supposed to be happening. We’ve invested money into this; we care about this. Our colleagues own things down there. We can’t have this happening there,” said Johnson.
Johnson said she doesn’t think enough care, concern, money or resources are put towards low-income neighborhoods in the City of Norfolk.
“When you neglect a community, this is what happens. When you disinvest in a community, this is what happens,” said Johnson.
“The NHRA and the city, a lot of times, they like to point fingers at each other,” said Johnson.
In February, the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority (NRHA) sent their residents a letter signed by the police chief saying there’s been an increase in drive-by shootings due to gangs. They encouraged residents to report crimes and not harbor criminals in their units.
News 3 reached out to the city about changes that have been made since the mass shooting six months ago.
The city said they understood that we had spoken to the Norfolk Police Department's public information officer about public safety and directed any other questions to the NRHA.
The NRHA said they would be able to provide News 3 with a statement on Wednesday. Below is the statement:
Following last year’s tragic shooting in Young Terrace, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority provided counseling for residents and increased armed security in our communities.
While we recognize the increase in violence and crime is a national epidemic, NRHA continues to do all we can to support our communities and work with key stakeholders and community partners to have a positive collective impact throughout Norfolk as we advocate for our residents to be treated equally in concern and allocated resources to other Norfolk residents living in other sections of the City. Our collaboration with the Norfolk Police Department, City of Norfolk and local organizations is ongoing.
We have invested greatly in increased security measures and are exploring neighborhood camera options with NPD. Additionally, as mentioned in your story, NRHA sent out a letter to residents in February encouraging them to report crimes through our anonymous tip hotline. We have also utilized our community newsletters to educate residents on such issues as domestic violence and empower them with lists of local resources. We also encourage residents to get involved in the leadership of their communities and take part in their neighborhood advisory and tenant management councils.
To help combat crime, we are working with many community partners to provide youth programming. We’ve partnered with the Reck League Foundation youth services and joined the City’s Nighthawks initiative and Project Safe Neighborhood (a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state and local law enforcement officials; prosecutors; community leaders and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them around the four core principles of community engagement, prevention and intervention, strategic enforcement and accountability). Our Calvert Square Envision Center recently reopened. We are aggressively putting together summer engagement programs and initiatives. And we continue to provide counseling and a Foodbank hub in our community.
We recognize these issues are bigger than what we can solve on our own. But together with NPD, City officials, community leaders and all Norfolk residents, we can work toward our common goal of stopping violence and crime.
Odom said he just wants everyone to be safe in his neighborhood.