Police to create new task force in Hopewell following 4th homicide of the year

We are 23 days into the new year and Hopewell has just surpassed the total number of homicides it had in 2021.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:37 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:01 PM EST
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HOPEWELL, Va. (WWBT) -We are 23 days into the new year, and Hopewell has just surpassed the total number of homicides it had in 2021.

The city’s fourth homicide of the year happened on Langston Park Drive early Monday morning. 26-year-old Teandrey Taylor was shot multiple times and died at the hospital.

Gun violence is rising in Hopewell, with five homicides in less than 30 days. The city finished 202, with the tragic killing of 8-year-old P’Aris Moore. She was shot while riding her bike with her friends on Freeman Street.

Two weeks ago, a 17-year-old high school student was gunned down on Oaklawn Boulevard.

A week later, a double homicide happened in Arlington Park.

“What we’re seeing is disturbing our citizens deserve the right to not live in fear, and the time is now, and law enforcement is stepping forward,” said Hopewell Police Chief A.J. Starke.

Starke says a new violent crime task force will be part of the solution. Hopewell police will partner with other agencies to cut down on the number of shootings in the city, which means residents can expect to see more officers out in the community.

“There will also be individuals that will be working at a capacity behind the scenes, so they‘ll be there citizens may not know, but they should feel comfort that the state police, the sheriff’s office and the city police department work behind the scenes,” explained Norman Gray with Virginia State Police.

The task force has been in the works for several weeks. It will officially go into effect this week, further working to stop those shootings by seizing illegal firearms and arresting people involved in criminal activities.

“We recognize apparently what we have been doing hasn’t been working, and it’s time to refocus, and that’s what we have done. The violent crime task force is just a refocus of resources,” Starke explained.

Hopewell Police Department says the task force will work hand in hand with Operation Ceasefire, a violence intervention program that City Council already approved.