NORFOLK, Va. – Community members leaned on one another Tuesday as they consoled a mother overwhelmed by grief after losing her teenage son overnight in another senseless shooting.
Kristopher Edmonds was 15 years old. His family said he was with two of his friends when he was shot and killed at the playground just behind his home on Thurgood Street in Norfolk. Officers said they got to the scene around 12:45 a.m.
Kristopher’s aunt, Dominique Williams, said the teen loved his family and cared for his mom, Crystal Edmonds.
“Every moment you think about him - that smile, that laugh, how he came around - he made everybody feel good,” said Williams. “That's what we should want in our community.”
A block away from where the shooting happened, family members and neighbors stepped out of their homes and onto their porches to take a stand against gun violence.
“These old people, we supposed to be burying them. They burying us,” Williams shouted to the crowd. “Who tired of that? You all not tired yet?”
The Stop the Violence Team (STVT) that organized the rally made desperate pleas to the crowd of all ages, hoping young kids get the message to put down the guns.
“These are young people, young children,” said STVT Chairperson Bilal Muhammad.
Muhammad said parents need to be more vigilant of their children’s activities starting inside the home.
“If we don't give them a better direction and a better way of influencing them, they may have a different direction to go in for their future,” he said. “We - as a whole, as a community - we need to really, really come closer together because if we don't, we may lose more down the road.”
This month alone, there have been more than 20 kids shot across Hampton Roads, including 15-year-old Teonna "Tee Tee" Coburn, who police said was killed in Norfolk Saturday night. Her 17-year-old brother was also shot but is recovering.
The uptick in violent crime involving young people has left Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone emotionally tired but resolute.
“I’m exhausted; I’m exhausted,” Boone said. “We have to find a way to inspire hope in our young people. We have to find a way to say that they matter - not just in these moments - while they have a heartbeat. I sincerely believe we can fix this. We can fix this.”
The investigation into Kristopher’s death is ongoing. Boone said he will work tirelessly to bring the family justice.