News to Know for July 7: Henrico death investigation; Increase of police at Lee Monument; Phase Three cautions; Guns banned at city facilities; Humid with possible storm

News to Know for July 7: Henrico death investigation; Increase of police at Lee Monument; Phase Three cautions; Guns banned at city facilities; Humid with possible storm
Crowds begin to clear at the Lee Monument at the conclusion of Trey Songz BLM Weekend candlelight vigil. (Source: Sable Grayson)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Here’s a look at our top headlines to get you out the door.

Storms Possible, But Mostly Sunny

Peak summertime weather in Virginia continues this week with high humidity and daily storm chances too.

Mostly sunny with a stray shower or storm possible. Lows in the low 70s, highs in the low 90s.

Hot and humid with only an isolated storm

Death Investigation In Henrico

Henrico Police say a death investigation is underway in the county’s west end.

Death investigation on Crown Grant Court, Henrico
Death investigation on Crown Grant Court, Henrico (Source: NBC12/Eric Everington)

Police were called to the 9500 block of Crown Grant Court around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning to respond to a firearms violation.

Increased Police Presence At Monument

Richmond’s newest police chief says get ready to see an increased police presence at the same spot protesters continue to gather night after night.

Chief Gerald Smith says he was given orders to step up police visibility at the Lee Monument and that’s just what he plans to do.

Late Saturday afternoon, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney officially introduced Gerald Smith as the city’s new police chief. Smith made the 300-mile trek from the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department where he served as the deputy chief to address the press and local city and state leaders at the City Hall chambers.
Late Saturday afternoon, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney officially introduced Gerald Smith as the city’s new police chief. Smith made the 300-mile trek from the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department where he served as the deputy chief to address the press and local city and state leaders at the City Hall chambers. (Source: NBC12)

This as he admits, morale within the department could use a boost as officers continue to clash with protesters.

Smith says in recent days, his officers haven’t wanted to do anything that would contribute to more civil unrest but many people who live in the area say officers aren’t doing enough.

Now, the new chief says it’s time to do something about it.

Phase Three Cautions From Health Experts

The City of Richmond is now in Phase Three of reopening, and data is showing good signs when it comes to the coronavirus. But health experts are urging residents to still be cautious.

Dr. Danny Avula with the health department says there is some concern about a rise in cases as people are out of their homes more in Phase Three, but he says with the way Virginia has approached the virus, we can prevent what we’ve seen in other states.

Dr. Danny Avula
Dr. Danny Avula (Source: NBC12)

“I am concerned we are going to see an increase in numbers. You hear us say we cannot just go back to normal, we’ve got to monitor ourselves, keep our distance, wash out hands and wear masks,” explained Dr. Avula. “Those are the things that we have seen over the last few months make a difference and while I do expect some uptick in disease, I think we can moderate it.”

Avula says as the state moves forward, residents need to do so with caution.

Guns Banned At City Facilities

The city of Richmond is reminding citizens that firearms are now prohibited in all city facilities and public parks.

The law took effect last Wednesday, banning guns at places like City Hall, community centers and all city-owned parks.

City Council passed the ordinance in 2019, but it didn’t take effect until this year - when the General Assembly allowed localities to ban guns in certain spaces.

“No Richmonder should ever be threatened by gun violence,” said Mayor Stoney. “This is especially true in public spaces like parks and community centers, where residents expect to enjoy public amenities, not fear for their lives.”

Mall Shooting Victim Dies

The victim involved in a shooting that occurred in Chesterfield Towne Center’s food court, has died as a result of his injuries.

On June 23, police responded to the report of a shooting in the food court at Chesterfield Towne Center.

After arriving on the scene, officers located one adult victim, identified as Kimani O. Donovan, 22, of Chesterfield. Donavan died as a result of his injuries.

On June 24, detectives located the shooting suspect, identified as William Ezell Taylor Jr., 23, of Petersburg.

Taylor is currently being held at Riverside Regional Jail without bond.

Brothers Killed In Road Rage Identified

When police arrived, Fred Swick, 39, and Joe Swick, 38, were found dead in their vehicle.

Police said in a release that Danny Lee Huffman, 48, of Spotsylvania has been charged preliminarily with two counts of malicious wounding, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and felony child endangerment. Police said the charges will likely be upgraded in the next coming days.

Danny Lee Huffman, 48, of Spotsylvania was arrested in connected to a double shooting on July 4.
Danny Lee Huffman, 48, of Spotsylvania was arrested in connected to a double shooting on July 4. (Source: Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office)

Police are still investigating the incident and say it appears to be related to road rage.

Flying Squirrels Movie Nights

The Richmond Flying Squirrels will showcase “Movies in the Outfield”.

Movies in the Outfield is presented by VCU Health and supported by Aldi, Dominion Energy, Elephant Insurance, Richmond Area Honda Dealers and Pepsi.

Movies will be shown on The Diamond’s video board on Thursday and Saturday nights.

Final Thought

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all - Helen Keller

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