RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Police is investigating a fatal shooting at a Midlothian Turnpike hotel. This marks the 21st homicide in the city of Richmond this year. That's three times the number of homicides compared to this time last year.
Just after 6 p.m. Saturday night, gunshots rang out at the Richmond Inn and Suites in the 6300 block of Midlothian Turnpike.
"Next thing you know: bow, bow, bow, bow, sounded like three explosions," said "Chips," who is staying at the motel. He says the victim was also a guest and wasn't alone when he was gunned down. "It was in front of his kid!" said "Chips." "His daughter was there and watched that! She's going to have to live with that the rest of her life. His daughter is maybe four or five."
Sunday, police identified the victim as 34-year-old Wayne M. Smith, Jr.
At Mass Flow Barbershop down the street, barber Vernon Powell was also staying at the motel when it happened. "I took one step into the hotel room and I heard a series of gunshots," he said.
This isn't the first time Powell says he's witnessed somebody fighting for their life on this street. A year ago, there was a murder in front of the Family Dollar next door to the barbershop. Just this past Friday, another man was shot right in front of the barbershop. Powell helped that victim. "I couldn't believe it, and a guy had been shot in his back twice the day after the incident right here."
Since January, within a half mile of the Richmond Inn and Suites, there have been four homicides and a number of other violent incidents, including robberies and assaults.
"There are people that are scared, ya know?" Powell says he wants to see more police in the area. "They need to ride up and down these streets throughout the day as much time as they can spare," he said. "We need to see them. We don't need to see them afterwards, ya know?"
Police are still asking for help to solve the violent crimes that have happened on Midlothian Turnpike. Anyone who knows anything can call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.
Richmond Police says they are working these cases and plan to make second precinct leadership available to talk about crime in the area on Monday.
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