PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The city saw its 34th homicide of the year early Saturday morning, when police say a 37-year-old man was shot and killed at Griff's Restaurant and Sports Lounge.
Just hours later and a stone's throw down the street, a group gathered at The Well Coffeehouse to push for change and to "Revive Portsmouth."
Local pastors and bands performed and the group discussed ways to help improve the city.
"It takes people caring about life, which is a basic core value. It's caring that life is so precious it's not something that's expendable," said Linda Saunders, one of the organizers.
The event went on from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the coffeehouse, with people coming by throughout the day.
Portsmouth Vice Mayor De'Andre Barnes attended and spoke at the event. He tells News 3 addressing the violence in the city takes "everybody coming together, no matter if you have a kid that's involved in it or you're being affected by it. We should all come together to make a difference."
Locals are upset that this keeps happening in the city. There have already been 34 homicides in Portsmouth so far in 2021.
"There's a lot of people that want to get involved - a lot of people that want to do this. People want to see things change," said Chuck Endicott, another organizer of Saturday's event. "It's going to take reaching people and letting them know there's another way. It's basic core values to teach people."
Barnes is encouraging people to speak at city council meetings and wants the city to invest in more non-profits to help young people.
"This is not normal, but for so many people, it's happening so much that it seems normal. We need to make an investment into people who are dealing directly with our children," said Barnes.