Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney addresses recent gun violence in city

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Posted at 4:38 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 23:06:46-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Cedric Davis Jr. is considered armed and dangerous and wanted in the city for having a stolen car, according to police.

"Our city should be enraged. I know I am," Portsmouth Police Chief Renado Prince said during a news conference Tuesday.

Prince name-dropped Davis during the news conference and identified him as one of five people wanted for potential involvement in the recent string of violence going on in the city. One has since been arrested.

"The question is: Why are they on our streets after being arrested by police departments across Hampton Roads? That's one of our major issues," said Prince.

On Wednesday, News 3 took those questions to Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales.

"Were you familiar with those names, and did you have any reaction or response to the chief feeling frustrated they're out on the street?" News 3 asked Morales.

"Here's what I would say - what our community needs at this time is leadership. What our community does not want is finger-pointing," responded Morales.

News 3 followed up by asking whether she thought the finger was being pointed at her.

"I won't get into that because again, I'm not focused on anyone else. What I am focused on is model behavior that I think is appropriate," she said.

Morales said she didn't want to get into specific names, but after the interview, her office told News 3 prosecutors wound up not moving forward with gun charges against Davis because of a lack of evidence, including a police indicating to prosecutors they had lost needed surveillance footage.

Morales spoke generally about cases.

"Those who have come through this criminal legal system and my office and have sufficient evidence - we prosecute those cases," she said.

In another case, court records show Arionta Blount was charged with misdemeanor eluding police in Virginia Beach and was given a criminal summons in March.

Since then, the court records indicate Blount has not shown up for a court appearance, and there's a capias for his arrest.

Portsmouth Police say he's now wanted for a shooting in the city last week.

"I can't say it's the courts, but something in our system is not working right now. I'm not trying to shift blame, but the police department - we're doing our part," said Prince on Tuesday.

Morales says her office is taking violent crime seriously and says the city needs to do more to prevent crime rather than be reactionary.

"I want to be part of the solution, so no, this system has never been perfect. This system has had issues, but I think it's time for system actors to be part of the solution and not constantly parroting what is wrong, but what can we do to fix it," she said.

Related: 'Hope takes too long': Activist calling for end to cycle of gun violence after recent rash of Portsmouth shootings