Portsmouth neighbors call for change amid repeated gun violence

Posted at 2:23 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 17:13:15-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Concerned neighbors spoke at Tuesday's city council meeting, calling on the city to do more to address gun violence in the city.

"I'm coming to y'all because this city has gone down since the pandemic started," Shannon Carmack told the council. Carmack says her daughter was shot in the head in November. She survived, but is still recovering from the injuries.

"I'm not going to cry because I need to stay strong for my family, but something needs to be done," Carmack said.

Bracey Parr, the president of the Cradock Civic League, spoke as well. He called on the city to put a renewed focus on community policing, invest in technology to help prevent crime, crack down on absentee landlords, and invest in the Afton Square area.

"With this, we can solve issues within our city and this body has expressed willingness to look at root causes and systemic issues of crime," Parr said.

City leaders seemed receptive to his ideas. "I think those suggestions have merit. They have a track record of working in the past and I don't see why they wouldn't work again," Councilman Bill Moody said.

City Manager Angel Jones said the city is working to find solutions to the gun violence problem in the city. "We're looking across the board about how we can respond to crime in this community," she said.

Another mother named Latoya Battle spoke at the meeting. She says her daughters and a friend were driving home on Black Friday when they were caught in the crossfire of two cars shooting at each other. Luckily, they weren't hurt.

"You can't drive down the street anymore. You can't go out at night," she said in an interview Wednesday with News 3. "When it almost happened to my daughter, it's like enough is enough because they were just driving home from Black Friday shopping."

The moms and civic league are planning to continue to push for change at future city council meetings.

Related: Juvenile dies from injuries following Portsmouth double shooting