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

Generic: Hampton Police
Posted at 5:09 PM, Jun 28, 2021

HAMPTON, Va. - News 3 is investigating an increase in gun violence and what's being done about it after shootings in Hampton and Newport News.

Officials say this is part of an uptick in gun violence that has some residents concerned.

Toliver and Valerie Grier were startled to hear gunshots Sunday night.

“When we came out on the front porch, there was just yellow tape everywhere,” said Toliver Grier.

“They emptied the clip and they shot again, and they did it again,” Valerie Grier.

The couple said they also heard gunshots Saturday night as well.

“I muted the TV to make sure I heard what I heard, and it was the second night I did that,” said Valerie.

Interim Hampton Police Chief Keith Ferguson issued the following statement in response to the violence:

Hampton is one of many cities across the region and country that is struggling with an increase in gun violence among young offenders. The age of the victims and offenders are concerning, but we are working on long and short term solutions. This is a problem that is driven by a very small percentage of offenders who are having an immense impact on our communities. We are embracing our responsibility to keep everyone safe. We are working hard to increase the cooperation that we are able to get from our victims because it is impacting our ability to bring them the justice that they deserve. We will continue to prioritize the work that we are doing that will positively impact the conditions that we face. This is certainly a policing challenge. It is also a challenge that will require an "all-hands" approach. It is important that we work together as a community to keep neighborhoods safe.
Hampton Police Chief Keith Ferguson

News 3 met up with the Hampton Mayor Donnie 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.

News 3 investigators requested the homicide rates from the Medical Examiner's Office for Hampton Roads. There was an overall increase from 160 in 2019 to 193 in 2020. The City of Hampton saw an increase of 14 to 24.

These are the preliminary numbers of homicides for 2021 in Hampton Roads and do not show an increase; however, officials say there has been more overall gun violence in some cities.

Related: Trigger Trace: A look into guns recovered throughout Hampton Roads

“We received the for report from the interim police chief, who believes it’s a gang activity increase, so they’re trying to increase the task force that deals with gangs and gang activity, so we’re hoping that that might bring it down,” said Mayor Tuck.

He said the mayors of several local cities are meeting tonight via Facebook at 7 p.m. to talk about issues the cities are facing. The public will be allowed to write in questions.

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