Community discussion held about gun violence

Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 7:02 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -In the wake of this week’s school shooting in Nashville and continued gun violence in Richmond, community members are coming together in hopes of finding solutions to combat these unnecessary tragedies.

A community conversation was held at Trinity Baptist Church in Richmond on Saturday with panelists like Richmond Police Department Acting Chief of Police Rick Edwards and Charles Willis, who is the Executive Director of United Communities Against Crime.

The event was led by questions from the community, like what role should police play in kid’s lives and how can gun violence be reduced?

Some of the discussion centered around more parent involvement in kid’s lives in hopes of identifying bad behaviors early on.

“You can see the mistakes, the flashing guns, the threats on social media, the things that we’re subpoenaing and getting back and like, oh, this is the murder. Didn’t happen on this day, but this day where I’m flashing a gun and saying come see me at Belt Atlantic, that’s how it starts,” said Edwards.

Panelists also discussed how preventing gun violence plays into what happens in the school system.

“The teachers are scared of the principal, the principal is scared of the superintendent, the superintendent is scared of the school board, the school board gets scared of the parents, the parents are scared of the kids and the kids aren’t scared of nobody. That is scary,” Willis explained.

Questions also centered around how the police can play a more effective role in how they function in the community by focusing on protecting and building trust.

”Some of it does start with this idea that we’re here to discipline your child when I’m actually here to protect your child,” said Major Sybil El-Amin, who is the Richmond Police Department Acting Deputy Chief.

The meeting ended with a community feedback portion that leaders say they plan to use as they move toward a safer Richmond.