RICHMOND, Va. -- A community activist who spoke out against violence in Richmond is in mourning following the murder of her son.
Someone shot and killed 27-year-old Kenneth Cooper, Jr. along Hanes Avenue, near West Brookland Park Boulevard, at about 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5.
Hours earlier, Cooper's mother had been on Facebook Live delivering a message to the community.
"You all are taking people's kids away from them," LaVerne McMullen said in an 11-minute anti-violence video. "Instead of stopping to think about what you need to be doing, y'all are going to go out here and kill somebody's child because you feel like you can. Because you have a weapon. Your gun is not your body armor."
Crime Insider sources said Cooper Jr. was killed during a robbery. His body was found in an alley.
"I posted something on Facebook that morning saying if you're thinking about killing someone's child, to stop and think about it," McMullen said. "They murdered my son by 7 o'clock."
McMullen does not just spread her anti-violence message on Facebook. She's active in the streets talking to community leaders, neighbors and young people.
"If you have any compassion about the people y'all lost in these streets, then put the guns down, gentlemen and women. This is not the route to go," she said. "There are other ways to handle things besides shooting each other."
She hopes her message reaches the ears of those who need to hear it, before the city's next murder.
"I could not save Kenny on Earth, but God will save him in heaven," she said. "That's why I have the strength I have. It's from the power of God!"
The person who killed Kenny Cooper Jr. remains at large. Richmond Police have not yet released information about a suspect in the shooting.
There have been more than a dozen homicides reported in Richmond in 2022. The number is on par with the number of homicides reported in Richmond at this time in 2021.
The City of Richmond ended 2021 with nearly 100 homicides.
Since 2000, Richmond has averaged approximately 60 homicides a year.
Between 2002 and 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 1997, the city's homicide number was 140.
Anyone with information about this homicide was asked to call Major Crimes Detective Higgins at 804-646-7570 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.