Richmond city leaders concerned over spike in deadly crime

Four people killed in the span of a week has caused a spike in violent crime in Richmond.

The incidents involved drive-by shootings and arguments that escalated to gunfire, according Richmond Police Sgt. Aaron Pomeroy.

"We consider it a spike," Pomeroy said. "It’s very unusual to see four homicides in a seven-day period. We haven’t seen that in 12 or 13 years."

The spike in violence started on Aug. 16, when a man was shot and killed in the 2400 block of Aberdeen Way. The victim, identified as Antonio Wright, was buying tennis shoes when he killed in a drive-by shooting.

As detectives were investigating that case, they were called to another homicide on Aug. 20 at South 6th St and Virginia Ave. In this case, two men from Oakland made their way to Richmond. An argument broke out and one shot the other. The victim has been identified as 33-yr-old Oakland resident Jeremy Griego.

On Monday, as officers made an arrest in that case, they were called to two more homicides. One was a drive-by shooting at Fourth Street Park in the Iron Triangle were two men were shot. A 30-year-old man was killed. A 65-year-old man is in the hospital. Pomeroy said investigators believe this was a targeted shooting that may be linked to Tuesday’s shooting death of Antonio Wright. At least 40 rounds were fired at the scene.

Roughly an hour later, police responded to another homicide at the 2400 block of Macdonald Avenue. A 35-year-old Richmond resident was found shot in the abdomen. Investigators later determined that this shooting started as an argument between two men and one shot the other.

Pomeroy said the homicide unit was taxed and other detectives were bought in to help the homicide unit.

"Ultimately people need to put their guns down," he said. "Solving arguments, solving issues with firearms isn’t the answer. Innocent people get shot or killed and it’s not worth it."

Community advocate Antwon Cloird said he believes there needs to be more community involvement to bring the violence down. He would also like to see non-profits be given more resources, along with community members being able to access mentors, training, and job opportunities to stay off the streets.

"The people are traumatized and they think this stuff is normal," Cloird said regarding the shootings. "We have to come with new ideas and new concepts on how to address the violence in this community."