Norfolk mayor responds to recent gun violence, discusses ways to address it

Posted at 8:22 PM, Mar 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 20:54:25-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander has responded to the recent gun violence that has plagued the city.

Two people were killed, including a Virginian-Pilot reporter, and three more people were hospitalized after a shooting on Granby Street in Downtown Norfolk early Saturday morning.

News 3 spoke with Mayor Kenny Alexander on his thoughts on the recent shooting and how he plans to address gun violence in the city.

He says whenever there is a shooting he is always concerned.

"I continue to search for long term and short-term solutions to bring gun violence to an end. I have asked for more traffic enforcement, code enforcement, and drug enforcement to help stop these guns from being trafficked and transported through the city and the region," the mayor tells News 3.

The mayor says gun violence is a serious problem and many organizations, people, and public officials are working together to put an end to it.

"The fact of the matter is there are more guns in America than there are people," Mayor Kenny Alexander said.

But the mayor says it is going to take more than public officials and journalists, but instead it is going to take family members reporting guns in the home or if they know someone who is in possession of one.

"Family members and friends don't raise their hands when there is a person who needs help, and we continue to have senseless gun violence in Norfolk and other parts of the region and the United States," he tells News 3.

Mayor Alexander tells News 3 that he and his council will give law enforcement the tools they need and will continue to look at each shooting.

"We have good officers. My council and I , we are not defunding police. We are funding police, providing not only benefits and resources but also investing in our police force with equipment and technology that they need to face crime."

When asked about shortages in police officers, the mayor said they are recruiting for officers but some are retiring or pursuing other opportunities.

He says he doesn't like to call it a shortage, instead, the department has vacancies.

According to the Norfolk Police Department, the department currently has 557 sworn officers (includes all ranks). At this time, there are 219 sworn officer vacancies; however, there are 16 recruits in the academy.

They say the department is not seeking any help from other agencies or emergency funding at this time.

Mayor Alexander says that he is going to ask City Council, city manager, and police to step up police presence, have additional security measures, and go back to traffic and code enforcement on Granby Street to send a strong signal that crime will not be tolerated.

He says discussing crime is a part of their weekly council meetings and they talk about it each and every day of making the city and public safe.

"If someone discharges a firearm and hits innocent individuals that are enjoying themselves it should not happen. it is not normal, and it is unacceptable," the mayor said.

The mayor says he is going to speak more with the police chief and city manager regarding the Granby Street shooting.

"It is not a good feeling and it is not something you want to wake up to hearing that a 25-year-old young lady was caught in the crossfire of individual shooting, discharging a firearm," he tells News 3.

During a virtual meeting with the Downtown Norfolk Civic League on Monday, Police Chief Boone stated that the shooting was the result of an argument over a spilled drink.

Officials say Norfolk Police will be stepping up patrols in the Downtown Norfolk area starting this Thursday.

The mayor plans to address gun violence with traffic enforcement, code enforcement, drug enforcement, and looking at the businesses to see if there is something that could have been done better.

Additionally, Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron reacted to the violence saying:

"Following a violent weekend throughout Hampton Roads, our thoughts are with the victims and their families. 

It's times like this that we must come together as a community and spread the message that violence is not the answer. 

As leaders we need to be proactive and find meaningful ways to reduce crime in our streets. We must continue to have open dialogue about the violence plaguing our community and find constructive ways citizens can learn to resolve conflict. 

Healthy social skills need to be taught at an early age and continue to evolve through adolescence and adulthood. 

Our communities must come together for the betterment of our youth and their future."

Related: Norfolk Police, ATF address local impacts related to straw purchasing of firearms