The victims killed in Friday night’s shooting in Richmond’s East End were a 9-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy, Richmond Police Chief Gerald M. Smith said Saturday. The 9-year-old was attempting to unlock a car door when he was gunned down.
Two men also were shot and are in stable condition. Police released few other details about Friday’s shooting, which took place around 7:30 p.m. on Nine Mile Road.
Later Saturday, at a news conference called by the Richmond NAACP, family members identified the slain 14-year-old as Rahquan “Ompa” Logan.
Smith announced he will start a task force of officers to investigate this crime and others involving gun violence and repeat offenders in the city. Smith spoke at a news conference Saturday morning alongside Mayor Levar Stoney and City Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille.
“This type of act cannot stand in Richmond,” Smith said. “Once again, the pattern continues. Our young people are falling victim to random gunshot violence over and over again.”
Smith and Stoney asked witnesses to come forward to help police with their investigation.
On Friday night, police responded to a report of shots fired at the OMG Convenience Store at 3050 Nine Mile Road. Upon arrival, they found what Smith described as a “large scene.” Two men and two boys had suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to a hospital.
The men fought through the night and are in stable condition, Smith said, but the youths died at the hospital. The youths who died were not related to each other, and the chief wouldn’t say if the adult victims were related to the children. He also would not say if the children were random victims or if they had been targeted. Police are reviewing surveillance video of the event.
The boys were the 67th and 68th homicides in Richmond this year.
“We’ve been here one too many times, particularly when it comes to a child,” Stoney said.
On Saturday afternoon, the Richmond branch of the NAACP, the Richmond Tenant Organization and United Communities Against Crime held a news conference at the intersection of Nine Mile and Creighton roads to decry the spate of violence.
“We’re asking you all to stop it and stop it now,” said JJ Minor, president of the Richmond NAACP. “Enough blood has been shed. This is a senseless act, and we have to learn how to value lives.”
He added: “People, it is time for the community to take ownership and step your game up. Let’s help save some lives. Let’s mentor some families. Let’s mentor some children. We must take ownership of our community.”
Charles Willis, executive director of United Communities Against Crime, recommended that businesses sign memorandums of understanding with police to help address trespassing and loitering.
He also called on Richmond police to implement a “focused patrol” on Nine Mile Road for six months and to issue bimonthly reports to the City Council. He said the group also is asking the police department and the council to deploy large halogen lights in the vicinity consistently for about 45 days “so we can light up those dark areas until the community can put those lights there permanently.”
“Families are hurting all across the city of Richmond,” he said.
Former City Councilwoman Michelle Mosby called for a joint effort in which residents, stores, government officials, police and businesses work together to combat crime.
“Then we need the village to speak,” she said. “Somewhere in there we have lost the village mentality and I need us to get it back.”
Just one day earlier, a teen was shot in North Side but survived. Two months ago, Richmond schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said five students were shot in the span of a few days. In April, a mother and her 3-month-old baby were killed by gunfire.
Smith, the police chief, noted that, overall, crime has gone down in the city. But homicides are increasing. At the end of September, homicides had increased 20% over last year. The city recently eclipsed its 2020 total of homicides, when there were 65. Those numbers do not include statistics such as self-defense killings.
Earlier this year, Smith said the lack of jobs brought by the pandemic and conflicts arising on social media were spurring violence.
Crimes like this aren’t happening in other cities, Stoney noted. But they continue to occur in Richmond.
The police chief had few details about the nascent task force because of how recently it was conceptualized. He will bring together officers from across the department and special units, and he will coordinate with other law enforcement agencies as necessary. Its size and name are undetermined.
“I’m just letting those know, if you continue this type of behavior and you do not take the options the community has given you for a better life, we will prosecute you,” Smith said. “We will come for you.”