CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A shooting near basketball courts at Rockwood Park marks the third crime involving a gun at a Chesterfield Park this month. The Parks Department reports four million people visit Chesterfield parks each year. While a shooting happened less than 24 hours ago, the county reports its parks are very safe.
Had Betsy Wiley known then what she knows now today would have been different.
"We would have never have come here had I known there was a crime here last night," said Wiley.
Police say a fight broke out - a gun was pulled and one person was hit. That person is recovering at the hospital. The accused shooter, Matthew Vance, is now behind bars.
"There's obviously a safety issue here at the park. I mean this is broad daylight but still, you never know who you might run into in a public park," Wiley said.
We investigated and found police reports for three violent run-ins at county parks this month alone: two in north Chesterfield and one in the Southside.
The night of July 2 some people were playing basketball at Huguenot Park when they were held up at gunpoint. Then 10 days ago at Ettrick Park someone was playing basketball in the middle of the afternoon. He got into an altercation and a gun was pulled on him. As he ran, he was grazed by a bullet.
Jamiel Thomas is concerned by the trio of crimes.
"You come to a park - you want to be able to be foot loose, carefree. You don't want to be looking over your shoulders and stuff like that," said Thomas.
There are 45 parks in Chesterfield and while the county wishes there was no misbehavior, it says overall parks are safe. So far there is no word on boosted police patrols.
"But still you want to be a little bit more vigilant. And I certainly wouldn't want to be here later in the day," said Wiley.
Once the investigation is complete the Parks Department will talk with the police department to see if any other safety measures need to be implemented.