RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Local authorities are now working with federal agents to determine if three recent murders in our area may be connected to the Bloods, a national street gang. These murders span across Henrico, Chesterfield and Powhatan counties and involve men in their late teens and early 20's. One of the murder victims is a 13-year-old boy.
Authorities suspect three men who were arrested and charged in the April 23rd murder of a Chester 13-year-old, Devin Hawkins, have ties to the Bloods.
In a search warrant, police confiscated red and black items from the home of 21-year old William Timothy Walker, the man who police said shot and killed Hawkins. Jermon Rasheem Woodson-Jones, 21 and Jermaine Powell, 18 also face charges stemming from that murder investigation including gang participation.
A 17-year old boy was also shot and injured in the Saturday night shooting in a Chester neighborhood off of Timsberry Terrace. Chesterfield police said the 17-year old was the target and that Hawkins was shot in the crossfire as he was running home. Police said Hawkins was not part of a gang.
One person, 23-year old Dante Holloway, was shot and killed in Powhatan on May 3rd. Another male was shot and injured. A The sheriff's department arrested Joe Lewis Harris III, 19 and Deshon Randolph.
Now investigators are looking into whether the deadly shooting of 21-year-old Quondell Pringle in Henrico on April 21 is also gang related. Henrico police have not yet arrested anyone for that homicide.
According to federal agents, the Bloods, a national street gang is identified by the colors red and black.
Geronimo Aguilar, better known as Pastor G at the ROC: Richmond Outreach Center, isn't surprised by the possible link. The former gang member turned pastor grew up in Los Angeles where the Bloods got their start.
"The Bloods have a pretty bad reputation," said Aguilar. "And if they become organized it can be very dangerous. And we shouldn't take it lightly."
In the National Gang Threat Assessment released by the FBI, authorities said the Bloods make money selling cocaine and marijuana. They're known to commit assault, extortion, auto theft and murder. And in the latest report, released in 2009, it states the Bloods are expanding in our area which will result in escalating gang-related violence.
"It's all about territory," Aguilar said. "It's about pride and it's about young people wanting to build a reputation."
The FBI won't comment on this specific investigation, but an FBI spokesperson said most of the violence is between Bloods themselves or with rivals like the Crips.
"And it's not like it was years ago when you would get in a fist fight. It's not like that anymore. Everybody carries a gun now," said Aguilar. "Well, I think all of us need to be concerned because bullets don't usually pick who they hit."