CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville police say recent violence in the city is likely related. Officers are now investigating two ambush-style shootings.
Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney is hot under the collar about this and says the community should be too.
“The entire community is at risk. We are doing our part in the investigations,” Brackney said. “We are spending hours out there trying to go through video evidence that we may be able to recover from independent sources like businesses, and things of that nature.”
Brackney says this is the second week in a row an ‘ambush-style’ shooting has happened in the city, carelessly firing multiple rounds of gunfire. She says these are not ‘isolated domestic incidents’ as some have implied.
“We cannot reveal all of our investigative clues and evidence at this point, because we still have outstanding shooters,” Chief RaShall Brackney said. “We can tell you as these are not necessarily isolated incidents like individuals would like us to believe.”
The past two shootings took place just a little over a mile from one another. Brackney says these are clear ambushes, with over 25 shots fired in the most recent shooting.
“The citizens of Charlottesville should be concerned about this spike in crime,” Brackney said. “As a matter of fact, they should be outraged about this spike in crime.”
The first took place on November 28 off of McIntire Road near the 250 Bypass. The female victim, 31-year-old Tanya Renee Wheeler of Charlottesville, was shot in the head, and died later at UVA hospital.
The second shooting happened on December 6 at 1:15 a.m. off of Ridge Street near Oakwood Cemetery. A male victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds and has been getting treatment at UVA Medical Center. At last check, he is in stable condition.
“We have made some arrests in some of the cases, but this one is still very actively being investigated,” said Assistant Police Chief Jim Mooney. “But we do need the public’s help.”
Police don’t just want help solving the shootings, but stopping them before they happen.
“We’re getting pushed back saying that these are isolated incidents of domestic violence and that the community is not at risk when you have bullets that are penetrating residents across the street, and in vehicles,” Brackney said. “You have them going into bedrooms or in televisions, and living spaces. These are ambushes.”
Brackney also called on members of the city she swears to protect and serve to help.
“This is not a law enforcement-only response,” she said. “This is a community response. This is the faith-based community being vocal. This is the social justice and advocacy community being vocal as well. This is Health and Human Services, getting involved to see what some of these underlying factors are. This cannot sit strictly with the police department.”
While neither Brackney nor Assistant Chief Mooney identified any one specific factor leading to the violence, Brackney said the fallout from the pandemic may have something to do with it.
“The likelihood that in this current economy that you are going to participate possibly when you don’t have any other resources is even greater,” she said. “However, that is not an excuse.”
Police are encouraging anyone with information to call crime stoppers, the anonymous tip line, at (434) 977-4000. There is a $1,000 reward available for information leading to an arrest in relation to these cases.