RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Relatives say that two kids may have been in the home of a double murder-suicide for as many as three days until the bodies were discovered Thursday morning.
Police say two women and one man were found shot dead around 8:30 a.m. in the 1300 block of Coalter Street at the Oliver Crossing Apartments, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said.
"This has to stop. This is not the city of Richmond. We experienced this 20 years ago and we don't want to go back to where we were then," said Durham.
The two kids, both under the age of 5, were found physically unharmed.
"We're in the early stages" of the investigation, Durham said in a press conference.
The women are Shaquenda Walker, a 24-year-old mother; and Deborah Walker, a 55-year-old grandmother.
The man is identified as Walter Gaines, III, 23, of Henrico.
Police are not looking for any suspects.
"It's a tough day," said Mayor Levar Stoney. "My heart goes out to the children who were on the scene."
The deaths come just three days after a person was shot and killed about a mile away on Raven Street, where the chief issued a similar plea.
"I've made a plea, the mayor has made a plea, citizens made a plea. We have to stop this. Every citizen has obligation to make sure city is safe," said Durham.
Family members of the victims say no one dialed 911 when they heard gunshots at apartment complex.
"The neighbors or somebody had to hear something and they did not report it, they didn't cry. Somebody put it on Facebook, but they didn't call the police," said Reverend Sharon Broaddus.
Broaddus works as a faith leader with the Richmond Police Department. She says the ongoing pattern of violence and silence is hurting the community.
"It says that we have become cold, indifferent, and it's like another day. It's like a murder is the norm, when it shouldn't be," said Broaddus.
She stressed police are working hard to solve these crimes, but they need help.
"They need us to be their hands, eyes, and ears. I don't know why people don't realize, you don't have to give your name. Just make an anonymous call," she said.
Community leaders gathered Thursday night to pray and discuss what can be done next to support the families involved and the children.
Maurice Tyler with CAVE Coaches Against Violence Everywhere says he's hurting for the families, and what happened Thursday is unlike anything he's ever experienced. Thinking about it brings him to tears.
Tyler is now calling on others to step in and offer support for those now suffering with an unimaginable grief.
"You wonder what you can do to make a difference, what type of help we could have brought the family before it happened," said Tyler.
Experts say the trauma the children have experienced will take intentional care and support to get help them heal and continue to develop resilience.
"Safety is number one, then there's helping them tell their story in an age-appropriate way and at their own pace," said John Richardson-Lauve with Childsaver. "Then there's helping them go on through life with the normal things."
Police are asking anyone with information about this case to call Crime Stoppers (804) 780-1000.
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