Richmond Police looking to stop youth gun violence ahead of summer

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:25 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As we head into summer, Richmond police are still looking to get guns off the streets and out of kids’ hands.

This week, police were notified of a viral video showing two kids being robbed and forced to strip down at gunpoint near Afton and Lynhaven Ave.

”When I look at that video, I feel so terrible for those young men, and it was just fierce what was done to them,” Acting Chief Rick Edwards said.

The video was allegedly recorded on Mother’s Day but never reported to police.

Police now say the person who recorded the video is in custody.

”That subject was arrested on unrelated charges and is currently being held,” Edwards said. “We’re continuing to work with the Commonwealth’s Attorney on what appropriate charges could come forward.”

Tuesday night on Terminal Avenue, a 17-year-old boy from Chesterfield was found shot to death in a yard.

It’s the first teen murdered in Richmond in 2023.

Neighbors who did not want to be identified say gun violence is almost a daily occurrence.

“I’ve actually seen a few children, maybe 9,10,11 years old, walking up and down the streets in this area threatening to shoot each other and making threats referencing parents that have been shot and passed away from gun violence,” the neighbor said.

In hopes of reversing the trend, Acting Chief Edwards said police will continue holding pop-up events to build rapport with the community.

RPS also has a program where they will hand out gun safes to gun owners.

”There’s an example we had already where there was a woman who had a firearm in her home, and some juveniles were visiting her child and stole a gun, and we were able to make an arrest and seize that gun back,” Edwards said. “We went right back to her and brought her one of these safes.”

So far in Richmond, there have been 30 homicides in 2023, exceeding the number from this time last year.

Edwards said they will need the community’s help to stop that number from growing.

”I’ll be honest with you, John, 30 murders is 30 too many I don’t care what the number is,” Edwards said. “We want to continue to keep our community safe. None of those numbers are acceptable because behind each one of those numbers is a family that is ruined.”

Come June 10, you’ll see a lot more patrol cars around Richmond as state police and federal partners assist RPS with Operation Safe Summer.