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Father of 6 killed in Richmond would 'do anything to help,' woman says

Victim's mother: 'It needs to stop. We are taking each other's lives for what?'
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Posted at 10:31 AM, Apr 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-11 10:31:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A mother is remembering her slain son, one of the ten people shot over six days in Richmond, as a father of six who loved playing the slots.

That shooting happened just before 3 a.m. Friday in the 100 block of East Baker Street.

Iris Smith-George’s 32-year-old son, James "Duke" Smith, was wounded outside a convenience store at the corner of N. 1st and Baker streets.

"If he liked you and deal with you, he'd do anything to help you," Smith-George said.

Police said Smith was taken to an area hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Family members said Smith loved to play the slots at the convenience store near where he was shot.

“He'd get up at 1 or 2 in the morning and go play slots, because he said the machines were hot then," a loved one rememered.

Smith was the sixth person killed in the River City since Easter Sunday. Ten people have been shot with five of the victims under the age of 21.

Crime Insider sources said major crimes detectives are averaging a homicide investigation every 16 hours this week.

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Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith

RELATED: 'Find something to help these kids,' police chief says about recent Richmond gun violence

Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith addressed the violence Thursday afternoon at the scene of a deadly shooting of a 15-year-old boy.

“We need the community's help. We need to all come together and think outside of the box about what can we do for the summer,” Smith warned. “These kids have been cooped up inside for a year. They're restless [and] it's starting to show."

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Richmond Police working multiple shootings Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney called the violence a crisis that must be addressed.

"This week is a somber and heartbreaking reminder of the devastation gun violence creates in our community,” Stoney said in a statement. “It's a crisis we must confront head on, boldly addressing root cases, so that every Richmonder can live their life to the fullest, regardless of where in our city they may live."

The families of gun violence victims echoed that sentiment and said no one should feel the pain of prematurely losing a loved one.

“It needs to stop,” Smith-George pleaded. “We are taking each other's lives for what, for what? I mean…”

Smith is survived by six children, including 9-year-old twin girls and a 1-month-old son.

If you have information that could help detectives, call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or submit a tip online at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All three Crime Stoppers methods of contact are anonymous.