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Slain Richmond 17-year-old honored with prayer vigil

Friends and family embrace at a prayer vigil for a 17-year-old killed in Richmond Thursday
Friends and family embrace at a prayer vigil for a 17-year-old killed in Richmond Thursday(WWBT)
Published: Feb. 20, 2022 at 10:42 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2022 at 5:20 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Dozens of family and friends gathered to remember and mourn a slain Richmond 17-year-old Sunday night.

The teen was shot and killed Thursday evening outside Ashley Oaks Apartments - marking the first juvenile homicide of the year in the city.

Richmond Public Schools confirmed the juvenile was an Armstrong High School student. He was described by the principal as the kid who always showed up and read so many books that the librarian started buying some for him.

No arrests have been made in connection with his murder. Friends and family are desperate for answers.

“This is a pain that I hope nobody out here will ever have to go through,” the victim’s mother said gasping through tears. “It hurts.”

Community members are gutted by the loss.

“This is painful for my mother and she has been through so much, my family has been through so much,” his sister Shaun Brown said.

From Richmond Public Schools staff to law enforcement, and from neighbors to friends, everyone stood together in blue and orange outside Ashley Oaks Apartments for a candlelight vigil at the very place where the teen lost his life.

“An African-American man that’s been shot down..it doesn’t make sense,” Richmond School Board Member Cheryl Burke said. “Enough is enough.”

The murder highlights the larger violence problem in Richmond.

“Truth be told, I’ve been at so many vigils like this that I can’t remember how many it has been,” RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras said. “I’m a little ashamed to say that but it’s the truth. Like Mrs. Burke, I quite literally don’t know what to do anymore.”

The vigil provided a platform for those closest to the victim to express their pain.

“I would have never thought that it would be me in this position,” Brown said. “You hear about it and you know that this is somebody’s child that this has happened to, but you never think to yourself that this will be you in this position. I think, for me, that is one of the hardest things.”

Brown told every teenager at the vigil to reach out to her personally if they need a mentor or encouragement to keep them on a good path and out of trouble. Her speech raised the alarm on the issue of crime, robbing the lives of Richmond children.

“I don’t want to see another vigil, I don’t want to see any more balloons, I don’t want to see any more flowers, I don’t want to hear on the news that somebody’s child has been murdered, has been taken away from their family,” Brown said. “I don’t want to see it. I’m tired of seeing this. I’m tired and this has to stop.”

The family of the victim is begging anyone who knows anything about the shooting to contact Richmond Police.

Anyone with any information can call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or talk to Major Crimes Detective Darnell at 804-646-3927.

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