PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In just shy of a one-month period, records show a dozen children were injured and five of them died after being shot in Hampton Roads.
All twelve incidents happened in one of three cities – Portsmouth, Norfolk and Newport News.
Going back to September 6, 10 On Your Side reported on the first shooting in this timeframe when police shared that a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed in Newport News. The second shooting happened less than a week later on Decatur Street in Portsmouth. Police say a 12-year-old girl was shot by a 61-year-old man.
Police tell us that man, Alex G. Eduria is charged with aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm, abduction, brandishing a firearm and reckless handling of a firearm.
The next shooting was allegedly at the hands of a schoolmate in a Peninsula school. On September 20, Newport News police said that two 17-year-olds were shot by a 15-year-old in a Heritage High School hallway.
The third and final shooting in Newport News was a boy who police say was shot on September 21 on Madison Avenue. They said injuries were not life-threatening.
From there, a cluster of shootings would occur on the Southside of Hampton Roads.
Police say a 10-year-old Norfolk girl was killed in a domestic-related shooting on September 26. The next day, law enforcement said a 15-year-old was shot on East Virginia Beach Boulevard, but their injuries were not life-threatening.
The final four shootings were reported in Portsmouth. From September 30 to October 1, police said five kids were shot, three of which proved to be fatal.
- Thursday, September 30 – Teen dies in shooting on Elm Avenue in Portsmouth
- Friday, October 1 – 14-year-old dies following shooting on Berkley Avenue in Portsmouth
- Friday, October 1 – Portsmouth police: Male seriously injured in shooting on Dale Drive, 1 boy fatally shot and another injured on South Street
Arrests in shootings involving juveniles
Law enforcement has not said if any of these shootings are related, but Portsmouth police did release information on possible suspect vehicles. They tell us detectives found a possible suspect vehicle from the Berkley Avenue homicide on Columbus Avenue a day after the shooting.
They’re still looking for a vehicle they believe was involved in the shooting on South Street they say killed one teen and injured another.
Some arrests have been made in the shootings mentioned.
- Newport News police have made arrests in two out of the three shootings involving juveniles within the September 6-October 3 timeframe.
- Portsmouth police have made two arrests out of the five shootings mentioned in this article.
- For the two shootings in Norfolk, the suspect in the domestic-related shooting killed himself in the double-murder suicide. There is no shared suspect information in the shooting that injured a 15-year-old boy.
Response from community activist against gun violence
Latisha Riddick says her organization “We Matter” is built on the foundation of keeping the youth of Hampton Roads safe. She hosts events to keep neighborhood children engaged, but on Sunday she sat down with 10 On Your Side to address the string of shootings.
“For a parent to have to outlive their child, I think it’s one of the saddest things any parent could have to endure,” explained Riddick.
The cycle of gun violence is one that Riddick says takes a toll on the communities youth. The more pain they feel, she explains, the more they may act out if they’re not taught how to cope in a healthy way.
“The more we can prevent people from having to go to candlelight vigils, putting people on t-shirts, the better,” Riddick told 10 On Your Side. “People are grieving, and they don’t know how to cope with that pain because there are some pains that you just can’t get over within a couple of months.”
For children in the community who have lost friends recently, the community activist has this message. “To the child that’s feeling like retaliation is the only way that you can seek justice… first and foremost, I’m sorry you lost someone that you love and you feel like the only way you can cope with the pain and to seek justice is the only way you were brought up to know. Please, I pray baby that you be strong and let God work his magic and do what he have to do to let justice be served.”
Riddick tells WAVY News she believes adults, with or without kids, can start to do more by way of setting the example for the younger generations. After this latest string of shootings, she says the time to make change is now.
“I feel like so many people feel like they don’t have the time. It’s time to make time.”
One of the ways Riddick says we can break the cycle is by breaking the stereotype. “Let’s fix it before you feel like, ‘Oh he’s in a gang, and you lookin’ at him differently or she’s in a gang.’ Let’s figure out why they tryna’ go that route and stop it then.”
Riddick also encourages those with information on any of these shootings involving juveniles, especially those deadly incidents, to come forward. “Contact the police. Because growing up, you have a ‘No Snitch’ policy, but when you a parent, and you lose your child, does that still apply?”
Those with information can submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-888-LOCK-U-UP, downloading the P3 tips app to a mobile device, or visiting www.P3tips.com and submitting a tip.