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Local mayors hold forum on public safety after violent night on Peninsula

Mayor's forum on Peninsula violence (June 28).jpg
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Posted at 5:37 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-28 23:51:51-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - After a violent 24 hours on the Peninsula, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck held a mayor's forum on public safety.

Tuck was joined by mayors from other cities around Hampton Roads as they brainstormed how to curb the gun violence.

At least three apparent bullet holes can be seen on the side of a vacant home on Homestead Avenue in Hampton - a small piece of the puzzle from a violent Sunday night in the city, where police say an 18-year old was hurt in a shooting.

“It’s scary, yeah it is,” said witness Dirk Phillips.

Phillips lives next door to where the shooting unfolded at the corner of Homestead and Vine. He says he heard a barrage of gunfire and immediately made sure his 4-year-old daughter was safe.

“I was just playing a video game upstairs in my room and just heard a bunch of gunshots and they sounded extremely close, and I came outside maybe 10 minutes later and there were police and an ambulance,” he recalled.

That incident was just one of four shootings in Hampton from Sunday night into early Monday morning.

All are expected to recover.

The youngest victim – a 14-year-old boy.

Mayors from Hampton Roads came together Monday night in a virtual forum to find ways to curb crime, especially among young people.

“This can’t be the norm. We can’t go forward to accept violence. We’ve got to show our young people a better way, and we will do just that,” said Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover.

“This can’t be the norm,” said Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover. “We cannot go forward to accept violence in any way, shape, form or fashion in our community. We’ve got to show our young people a better way and we intend to do just that.”

Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck hosted the event. He said social unrest, lack of role models and jobs might be causing some of the violence. He suggested some solutions.

“Bringing all resources together, community togetherness,” Tuck said. “The fact that it takes a village.”

Local leaders said they are working on finding ways to engage youth, invest in crisis intervention training and mentorship programs and create more opportunities.

“The best way to stop a bullet is with a job,” said Newport News Mayor McKinley Price.

Newport News, where 37-year-old Andre Ford was shot and killed Sunday night, is teaming up with the shipyard to train young people in trade jobs.

“After a two-week intensive training, they will guide people into areas of where they can have extensive training with a guaranteed starting salary of $19 an hour,” said Price.

Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander said gun violence is a national issue and is hopeful the partnerships formed in Hampton Roads can be a national model.

“We’re working with our civic leagues; we're working with community action agencies, grassroots and faith-based organizations, also workforce councils,” Alexander said.

In the meantime, Phillips said law enforcement needs to work to get guns out of the wrong hands.

“Just stop guns from getting into the streets that aren’t registered, or belong to someone who's not of ago to even carry one, or trained the right way to use one, because that was a young kid who got shot and could have been anybody on the street,” said Phillips.

Before the forum, News 3 met up with Tuck, who shared the latest data about recent shootings. He said since late April, there has been about one shooting every three days, with the exception of two separate chunks of time when they saw shootings every day for six or seven days in a row.

Related: News 3 investigates an increase in gun violence after shootings on the Peninsula

The forum started at 7 p.m. We streamed it live on the News 3 Facebook page and in this story. If you missed it, you can watch it above.