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Petersburg community searching for hope after weekend of violence: 'People are afraid'

Pastor Raymond Bradley New Divine .jpg
Posted at 12:36 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 10:17:30-04

PETERSBURG, Va. — It was a terrifying weekend of violence and bloodshed in Petersburg. Three shootings broke out Friday evening, leaving one man dead and five others injured.

The latest deadly shooting happened early Monday morning, outside of the Marathon gas station in the 2700 block of South Crater Road. Police say they were called to the scene and found a male victim shot dead inside a vehicle.

"This is not a good place for the City of Petersburg right now," explained Raymond Bradley, the associate pastor at New Divine Worship Center. "People are afraid, you know, people are actually afraid."

Bradley knows the impact guns are having on the city’s youth firsthand. His son, 25-year-old Tyrell Fields, was shot and killed in broad daylight in October.

"I had to rely on God," he said. "As a parent, I was angry. I was bitter. I was mad. So I understand and I get it, but we play a part, we play a part in making a change."

Bradley said one solution he’s been working on with city leaders is implementing more resources for children, like a Boys and Girls Club and new playgrounds.

"Our job is, is to try to catch them while they're young," Bradley noted. "So that we can try to instill in them that there's, you know, a different type of mindset that they can take, and there's hope."

He said the city desperately needs hope right now, as police investigate the sixth homicide this year.

"Eventually you're going to see a change for the City of Petersburg because we are going to make the change," said Bradley.

New Divine Worship Center is holding a peace walk on Saturday at 10 a.m. The walk will start on Shore street and continue down Harden Street. There will be drinks and snacks provided.