Teen charged with murder in shooting near Westover Hills Elementary

Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 3:29 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 at 12:42 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A 17-year-old is now facing multiple charges, including murder, in connection to a deadly shooting near a Richmond elementary school last week.

On Oct. 14, at around 2:17 p.m., officers were called to Westover Hills Elementary located in the 1200 block of Jahnke Road for reports of armed individuals and shots fired.

When officers arrived, they found Imani Hill, 26, of Richmond suffering from a gunshot wound. She was taken to the hospital where she later died.

Detectives determined three family members - Hill, the teen, and another family member - confronted a man in front of the school. A fight broke out between everyone involved. During the altercation, police say a man was assaulted by the teen and shots were fired, hitting Hill.

The teen was initially charged with malicious wounding, possession of a firearm by a juvenile and possession of a firearm on school grounds.

On Friday, Oct. 21, additional charges were added: murder, attempted robbery, and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

No students or staff were involved in the incident, but the school did go on lockdown due to police activity in front of the building.

“It’s unreal. You wouldn’t think that it would actually happen to you, but in all reality, it did,” Iris Varela, a parent, said.

Varela is one of the many parents who received a text letting them know their child’s school had been put on lockdown.

Parents were told their children were safe but did not know it was a shooting.

“Not until my husband put me on speaker and the police officer told me it was an active shooting and the kids are safe,” Varela said.

Once the lockdown was lifted, the school was dismissed in the Family Dollar parking lot located behind the school.

With something like this happening in broad daylight and so close to school getting out, it is leaving Varela to rethink the safety of her kids.

“Like I said, they were walkers, they normally walk home by themselves, but that’s not going to happen now,” Varela said.

“My heart bleeds for this lady. My heart bleeds for all of the children inside of that building that experienced this,” school board member Jonathan Young, who represents the 4th district, said. “Irrespective of what they heard, they have to come to school next week knowing what happened outside of their school.”

Young says with all the recent violence in and near schools, we’re taking a step backward regarding gun violence and kids.

“Students can’t even play football, having to call the game quits because of shots fired, students at a bus stop have to run for cover,” Young said. “Here we are again. Congratulations, Richmond, we’re back to the 80′s.”

He said these types of violence are intolerable, especially near a school, and it’s time to reevaluate who we are as a community.

“If you carry a gun and you shoot at somebody, we’re going to lock you up for a really long time so that you cannot harm our children again,” Young said.

Friday evening, superintendent Jason Kamras in his RPS direct email, mentioned the shooting and said any student who needs crisis support should call the ChildSavers Immediate Response line at (804) 305-2420 or send a text to 741741.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about this shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.