Community leaders, organizers address gun violence in Norfolk after man is shot near Shop N' Go

stop the violence rally.jpg
Stop the Violence chair Bilal Nuhammad.jpg
Posted at 9:22 PM, Mar 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-05 23:24:44-05

NORFOLK, Va. - The Stop the Violence team has come together to call for an end to gun violence.

A Stop the Violence rally in front of Shop N Go comes after a man was shot near the store Wednesday afternoon. That man was later taken to Norfolk General Hospital to be treated for his injuries. Community activist Bilal Muhammad says his goal is to clean up the Berkeley community.

"The summer hasn’t even started so immediately we said we need to tackle down on this now. Crime, gunshots, people getting shot and there’s a strong drug problem in this community. When you have a strong drug problem and a lot of shooting going on in the community then you have crime," Bilal Muhammad, the Stop the Violence chair tells News 3's Leondra Head.

Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone attended Saturday's rally.

"I’m out here to support the citizens of Norfolk, Mr. Muhammad. Mr. Muhhammad’s been at this for almost five decades," Boone said.

Boone says he’s implementing plans to address violence in Norfolk.

"In the city of Norfolk, we are in the embryo stages of developing our project safe neighborhoods partnership with our federal partners and community partners. In addition to that, we will be shortly kicking off our community grassroots crime intervention program," Boone tells News 3's Leondra Head.

Chief Boone says he plans to address crime from different angles.

"So it’s a bifurcated program where we’re going to be addressing violence crime on two fronts. One front being law enforcement and the other front being community grassroots based," Boone said.

In 2021 in Norfolk, 821 guns were recovered, and 116 of those were from felons. Boone says guns in the wrong hands plays a large role in crime.

"It starts with the flow of illegal guns. All the thoughts and prayers, that’s nice but if we can stop the flow of illegal guns into the wrong hands of our youth and convicted felons, a lot of this would stop. There would be a significant impact right away," Boone said.

There have been two shootings in the last ten months near the Shop N Go location on Liberty Street.

"We’re trying to bring a better direction in the community of Berkeley. We ask the residents in Berkely to help us to strategize a plan so we can reduce the crime that’s taking place in this community," Muhammad said.

The Stop the Violence team tells News 3 they’ll be having a meeting with local pastors and civic league pastors in the upcoming weeks to curb crime in the area.