RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Public School’s community is hurting after a shooting killed a mother and baby, and left three others injured.
One woman, identified by family members as 30-year-old Sharnez Hill, was killed on the scene. Richmond Pastor Donte McCutchen tells NBC12 the baby’s name was Neziah Hill. The other three victims - a 29-year-old, a 15-year-old, and an 11-year-old - are in stable condition. A family member tells NBC12 the 11-year-old was shot in the hand.
NBC12 confirmed with RPS that two students were injured. Superintendent Jason Kamras says the Westover Hills Elementary and George Wythe High School communities have been impacted by the violence.
“It is beyond heartbreaking. It frankly makes me angry. I am angry someone has to go shopping for a casket for a 3-month-old. I cannot conceive it,” said Kamras. ”There are larger forces at play here that go well beyond RPS, and I am angry that I can’t figure out what to do about it because I am tired of going to funerals.”
Kamras says RPS students, parents and staff continue to deal with the repeated trauma of gun violence.
“We need to increase our investment in mental health support and in social-emotional development. We have made a big investment in that but we need to do more we were planning to do so but this event has made it more urgent to me,” he said.
RPS has a crisis response team that includes administration, ChildSavers and The Richmond Behavioral Health Authority. Even as virtual learning continues, Angela Jones, Director of Culture, Climate and Students Services says they are offering support.
“We have a large population we need to wrap our arms around and take care,” said Jones. “We have crisis grief rooms even in a virtual places, so students have a place, where staff have a place to go and deal with the emotions.”
Jones says every tragedy continues to pile on anxiety, anger, and exhaustion, which is why they continue to make services available.
“[RPS community] please reach out. Just because [gun violence] happens frequently does not make it okay, whatever they need to do, cry, scream, whatever they need to do to work through this,” said Jones.
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