'Hope takes too long': Activist calling for end to cycle of gun violence after recent rash of Portsmouth shootings

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Posted at 3:53 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 18:23:52-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - It’s been a violent 24 hours in the City of Portsmouth. There have been a string of shootings across the city – including three separate incidents Thursday night alone.

One of the shootings happened at the London Oaks Apartments. That's where the youngest gun violence victim lives. He’s 15 years old, and police say he’s expected to recover.

Darrell Redmond, 44, grew up in London Oaks and around crime. Since serving time behind bars, he’s been fighting to end the bloodshed in his city.

When he heard about a 15-year-old boy impacted by gun violence in the apartment complex, he was back in his old neighborhood to see how he can help.

Redmond works with the city to curb crime through his organization Give Back 2 Da Block.

“Any time one kid is going through a situation, we all suffer,” said Redmond.

Portsmouth Police say the teen shot himself. Investigators are calling it an accident. It’s unclear if it was a suicide attempt, but Redmond says the circumstances don’t matter.

“My thing is to create a healing environment to provide a wraparound service to ensure that kids are safe and kids are able to be kids,"Redmond said.

Police say there have been six separate shootings since Wednesday. Thankfully, no one died.

The three shootings that happened Thursday night happened within a couple of hours of each other.

The first happened on Staunton Avenue, where police say a 56-year-old woman was taken to the hospital after she was shot. She’s expected to recover.

And not even an hour later, police say that 15-year-old boy shot himself at London Oaks.

One mother, who didn’t want to be identified, said she was getting home from work when the shooting at the apartment complex happened just before 10:30 Thursday night.

“I just seen the ambulance and the K-9 riding all on the grass and stuff and that’s how I knew somebody got shot,” she said.

Friday, police were out in full force patrolling the apartment complex. But the mother of four young kids with another on the way said that’s nothing new.

With the alarming surge in crime, she says she doesn’t even let her kids play outside.

“It’s not safe,” she said. “Keep your kids in the house if you don’t want your child in the hospital, or in the grave. That’s how I look at it.”

And just before 11 p.m. Thursday, police say an argument near Alden Avenue and Emmons Place led to a shooting that left a 31-year-old man with serious injuries.

Earlier that afternoon, police say two men were shot near the Connelly Apartments on Towne Pointe Road.One man was badly injured, and the other is expected to be OK.

Detectives there were collecting evidence for hours.

And hours before that shooting, a woman was wounded due to gunfire on Seventh Street. She was treated at the hospital.

On Wednesday, two men reportedly walked into the hospital with gunshot wounds.

Redmond says he’s tired of the violent crime and political infighting. He says there needs to be a bigger focus on providing more opportunities for people to stop the cycle of violence.

“The root cause of violence is poverty, so let’s create opportunities instead of creating hope,” he said. “We keep creating hope but yet, if we create opportunities, opportunity changes things. Opportunity can change you now. Hope takes too long.”

In light of these recent shootings, Portsmouth Police have beefed up security at some of the schools.