RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Thursday night left residents of Monument Avenue in shock and fear after shots in the night.
According to Richmond Police, officers were approached by a victim at Allen Avenue and Broad Street who stated someone had fired shots into their vehicle near the Circle following an altercation.
Around the same time, officers received several calls for random gunfire near the Circle in the 1600 block of Monument Avenue. When officers arrived, one of the callers stated the glass door at their residence was shattered by reported gunfire.
One resident who asked not to be identified says he was excited for the change happening on Monument Avenue at the beginning of more than 60 straight days of demonstrations against racism and police brutality, but he fears the recent acts of violence and vandalism amidst those protests will derail the movement.
“The first two weeks of this protest I felt absolutely blessed to be here; I felt blessed to be able to have my family be apart of this movement we were out there walking, we were protesting we had signs we were right there! It was a spiritual moment, said the resident. "
After the two-week mark, the pendulum swung and the dark, seedy came in and there’s just evil you can feel in some of these people and unfortunately what’s it’s doing is hijacking the message of change and equal rights.
The resident says that he and his family have witnessed and experienced crimes happen right in front of their home on Monument Avenue.
“At 11:14 and 50 seconds, we heard five gunshots,” the resident said. “Basically we’ve had a war-zone in our front yard for about 65 days. As of last night, we’re not allowing anyone to sleep at the front of the house because of stray gunfire,” the resident said. “I’ve been accosted my son has witnessed assaults we have witnessed assaults we call 9-1-1 anywhere from two to five times a day.”
Chief Gerald Smith responded to the incident saying, “Gunfire and violent behavior is not peaceful, nonviolent protest; it is criminal, unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our city,” Chief Gerald M. Smith said. “The City of Richmond will take all necessary steps to protect residents and visitors and preserve peace and public safety in our communities.”
“We need police, we need protection,” the resident said. ”We need our Governor to step up, we need the Mayor to step up and allow the police to do what they need to do. Of course, they need to do it in an ethical and proper way, not crossing lines. That’s part of this is all about.”
This resident says he will always been in support of the movement, but fears unlawful players are ruining the progress made.
“The message hasn’t just been tainted it’s being hijacked in front of our very eyes,” said the resident. “Right now we are at pendulum place to where we can make effective change in this country and this state. We’ve made great strides in a very short amount of time and you’re blowing it you’re blowing your chance to make a change.
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