NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Following Wednesday’s mass shooting, Stop the Violence hosted a rally Saturday afternoon in support of the families who lost loved ones.
Three women were killed and two were injured in the Young Terrace neighborhood. The two injured women, a 39-year-old and 19-year-old, were taken to the hospital and are expected to be OK.
Police said the man who shot the women had been taken into custody. He was identified on Thursday morning as 19-year-old Ziontay Brian Ricardo Palmer, of Virginia Beach.
Just three days later, Bilal Muhammad, the event organizer, tells 10 On Your Side they’re rallying around the community to stop the cycle of domestic violence.
“We are trying to bring about solidarity and healing for the community,” explained Muhammad. “To a community that is very, very hurt – to inspire the community. Let’s begin to look in a better direction.”
He’s hoping further collaboration with city officials will help make that happen.
“The community needs other agencies to support them – including the leaders that are here and with us today.”
Two of those leaders present at Saturday’s rally were Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron and Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander. They both expressed how community members need to come together in order to prevent future tragedy’s.
“We will be here for the duration to support and uplift them. We are a resilient city. We are a resilient city. The people of Norfolk are resilient. However, this really shakes the foundation of our city when precious lives,” said Alexander.
“It starts with giving those persons who are victims the space, the time, the resources, love, and support they need,” continued Alexander.
Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron, a former homicide detective, shared the same sentiment but said the community needs to step up as well.
“I know the violence that can occur in this city, but when I saw that the five women had been shot… it was just devastating for our community. Yet another example of where we need to step up and do something different to stop this kind of violence from occurring,” said Baron.
After working nearly eighty homicide investigations, Baron believes finding the root of where this type of violence stems from could be key in prevention.
“We could change an entire generation if we wanted to. If we did our homework and did a root cause analysis of the problem, understanding what leads people to violence,” explained Baron. “We can really help our community depending on how we respond to that. Rallies are great to bring the community together… but I’ve been going to rallies for 36 years.”
Baron says being more hands-on with younger adults in the community may also be beneficial to encourage positive outlets when they’re faced with adversity.
“What can we do to educate our youth and people about domestic violence about how to resolve conflicts without violence? How to cope with the breaking up of a relationship? That doesn’t need to end in violence,” said Baron.