'We need to do better as a community': Norfolk mayor discusses gun violence, Spirit of Norfolk fire

Jessica interviews Kenny Alexander (June 9)
Posted at 8:09 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 18:47:45-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Portsmouth isn't the only local city that's concerned about gun violence. The effects are also being felt across the water in Norfolk.

News 3 investigator Jessica Larché caught up with Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander at Slover Library Thursday to discuss the issue.

Jessica asked the mayor what he has to say to the families and communities who are in fear with the spike in gun violence not just across the country, but here locally.

"Well, I'll tell families all the time - we need to do more as a community. You know, if there's a situation in your home or your community where a person has a gun, and you know that that person should not be in possession of a firearm, please report it. Red flag laws, more mental health, intervention and treatment. More importantly, getting the getting those persons the help that they need. Very early, those persons who are victims of domestic violence or or abuse - physical or verbal abuse in their home - that escalates to the gun violence that we're seeing. Something starts very early," he said.

Alexander mentioned that there's a shortage of about 250 police officers in the city and said they're having job fairs to fill the vacancies. He also mentioned that they're raising the minimum wage in the city for both full-time and part-time workers.

Other solutions Alexander proposed in April to combat the issue include updating cameras and increasing the police presence in the city, both of which News 3 has covered as new initiatives being taken in Downtown Norfolk.

We also asked the mayor about the fire that broke out on the Spirit of Norfolk earlier this week. Thursday, officials said the ship was "possibly a total loss."

"It is a tremendous loss - not only for the city, but for so many families that have spent so many years celebrating the Spirit and often being an anniversary, being a graduation, being at a class reunion, conventions and mass meetings and conferences that come to our city... so it is a tremendous loss to the City of Norfolk, but more importantly, the memories that people have made," he said.

Alexander said the city wants to work with the Spirit of Norfolk's owners and have it replaced but said the most important thing was that no one was hurt.

You can watch our full interview with the mayor below:

Mayor Alexander full interview

Related: 'Not a day goes by' when administration isn't trying to find solutions to gun violence, Gov. Youngkin tells News 3