RPD responds to recent gun violence in Shockoe Bottom

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 7:01 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2022 at 7:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In Richmond, two shootings over the weekend have shaken up residents and business owners in the Shockoe Bottom area.

Viewers reached out to 12 On Your Side seeking answers about what appeared to be a rise in gun violence. However, Richmond police say there have actually been fewer shootings this year, but it’s not bringing much comfort to business owners who say they don’t feel safe.

One employee at The Pizza Place calls weekend’s in Shockoe Bottom a nightmare. So much so that they hired a security guard for protection.

“It is getting to the point where people don’t want to go anywhere anymore,” said Mike Bush.

NBC12 talked with Bush just a few doors down from The Pizza Place at The Stockpile Men’s Boutique.

“I’ve been here 30 years, and when I first moved here, it was the murder capital in the country, and it got better, and now it seems like it’s going backwards,” Bush said.

But Richmond Police say shootings in Shockoe Bottom have actually dropped. So far this year, police have responded to four shootings; two of them were deadly.

That’s down from the six shootings last year during the same time frame.

“We understand that even though the shootings might be down, we’re not going to rest on that,” Major Rick Edwards with Richmond Police said. “We’re going to continue with what we’re doing to create that environment that we want and that our businesses want,” he said.

Edwards said RPD had increased patrols, especially on weekends when nightclubs start closing.

“When you look at those investigations, we find that they are generally alcohol-related. They stem from disputes in the clubs, and then once some of those individuals go to the parking lot, those fights continue. That’s where they have access to firearms,” Edwards said.

They’re keeping a close on vehicle break-ins that are now on the rise. Edwards says it’s likely where perpetrators are finding weapons.

“We’re asking citizens who are leaving valuables in their car to make sure that they lock them in their trunk,” Edwards said.

But ending the violence, Bush says, takes a community.

“I tell people to put the guns down and try to talk things out. A lot of times, it’s really silly stuff,” Bush said.

RPD is pushing for more street lights and cameras in Shockoe Bottom. It also plans to continue talks with nightclub owners and businesses in hopes of curbing gun violence in the area.