RICHMOND, Va. -- Less than 24 hours after a quadruple shooting left two children dead and two men critically injured, Richmond's police chief announced the creation of a new task force aimed at curbing crime and catching those responsible for gun violence.
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said officers worked a "pretty large scene" after they were called to the OMG Convenience Store, along the 3000 block of Nine-Mile Road, around 7:30 p.m. Friday.
When police arrived, they found two men and two children suffering from gunshot wounds.
The four victims were transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Both children, boys ages 9 and 14, died at the hospital, according to police.
Police said the boys were not related, but would not say if they were related to the adult victims.
The Medical Examiner will determine their cause and manner of death, officers said.
Police chief: 'Show them a different path'
Smith said during a news conference Saturday morning that while the overall violent crime rate has gone down in Richmond, the city is seeing an increase in shootings. In fact, there have been 68 homicides, including the violence Friday, so far in 2021, Smith said.
The latest young victims mean this year's killings have surpassed the 66 homicides reported in 2020 and the 61 homicides recorded in 2019. [IN-DEPTH: Scroll down for a look at Richmond's homicide numbers over the years.]
Smith said the new task force will help catch those pulling the trigger.
“We will be pulling together task force that will be starting with this particular incident and we will be going after them," Smith said. "Identifying them and we will be bringing them forth for prosecution and handing them over to our state, local prosecutors and even federal prosecutors.”
Smith added that he needs the community’s help to engage young people and offer them more outlets.
“Give them something else to do. Show them a different path," Smith pleaded. "This violence that we’re seeing right now, it's affecting our youth. Our youth are the ones falling victim to it and our youth are the ones who are committing it.”
Mayor: 'We're requesting your help'
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney called the incident a "heinous crime" and "senseless act."
"Sometimes I come at this with a loss of words because these are crimes that should not happen, should not happen," Stoney admitted. "We have been fighting an epidemic of gun violence in this city for decades and we have to ask ourselves, when does it stop?"
Stoney said the police department will "exhaust every lead possible" to catch those responsible. He also urged anyone who saw anything to come forward.
"If you see anything on social media that may be connected to this crime, please report it to the Richmond Police Department," Stoney said. "We will do everything in our power to bring these individuals to justice and we're requesting your help."
Anyone with information about the case is urged to call Major Crimes Detective A. Sleem at 804-814-7123 or contact Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email firstname.lastname@example.org to send a tip.
Tracking Crime: Richmond Homicide Stats
Richmond Police reported 68 homicides in the city thru Nov. 13, 2021.
Since 2000, Richmond has averaged approximately 60 homicides a year.
Between 2002-2005, more than 80 people a year were killed in crimes classified as homicides in the city. Over the last two years, more than 60 people were killed in crimes classified as homicides, according to Richmond Crime statistics.
In 1994, 160 people were killed in the City of Richmond. In 1997, the city's homicide number was 140.
|2021||68 homicides (as of Nov. 13, 2021)|