Portsmouth community calling for more action to fight gun violence plaguing city

gun violence in Portsmouth
Posted at 6:01 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 18:15:23-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Longtime Portsmouth community member and activist Cedric Cradle wants grassroots groups and police to step up and stop the seemingly endless cycle of gun violence plaguing the city.

“We need to see more action,” Cradle said. “Instead of being reactive, we can be more proactive with a lot of these crimes, and that’s not what’s happening.”

Cradle formed Unseen Tears to provide support and free portraits to families who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence.

He’s now planning on reaching out to the family of the latest murder victim, Dalen O’Shay Spence.

Police say Spence was shot and killed on Paul Revere Drive in the early morning hours Monday. He was 25 years old.

“We try to give them hope and let them know we’re here for them,” Cradle said.

Detectives are now looking for a black, four-door 300 Chrysler they believe is tied to Spence’s death. They said it has a sunroof and is missing a front tag.

Several hours earlier on Sunday, police said a boy was shot and injured on Tejo Lane. There is still no suspect in that case.

Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover is encouraging the community to come forward with information that would lead to an arrest in any of the crimes.

“If there are people that are perpetrating violence in the community, any one of us could be another victim,” Glover said. “In order for that to not take place, we need everyone to come forward. If you see something, please say something.”

So far this year, police say there have been a total of 23 homicides.

Glover, however, said the city’s crime tactics are working, including boots on the ground violence interrupters and meeting with families to isolate issues.

Glover said the recent shakeup in city leadership and disharmony on council have not distracted law enforcement and grassroots groups from their continued work.

“All of the police officers and first responders in the city are doing their jobs every day,” he said. “I applaud them for holding the line and keeping our community as safe as it can be and helping those families. That’s what we need to focus on.”

Still, Cradle says the focus could be stronger.

He’d like to see surveillance cameras installed around high crime areas to help solve crimes.

Cradle is remaining hopeful and believes the new city manager and interim police chief will bring about some serious and tangible change.

“We’re seeing the same problems over and over again,” Cradle said. “We’re willing to work with anybody in the city to curb this violence.”

City Manager Tonya Chapman would not answer any questions from News 3 about what initiatives she believes are working to prevent to gun violence.

A city spokesperson told News 3 the Interim Police Chief Jenkins and the city council plan on meeting this week to talk about one her new plans called ‘Roc the Block.’

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