NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — “This is not the norm,” says resident Will Courtier, who has lived in Willoughby Spit for ten years. He’s referring to violence, threats and intimidation he and other residents have faced in the past two weeks.
In one incident, Courtier was dragged by an angry driver after Courtier snapped a picture of his vehicle. A few days before, a 45-year-old man was badly beaten and hospitalized after he tried to intervene, when a group of teens stole a wallet from a car.
Residents say lately they see a lot of suspicious activity in their otherwise quiet neighborhood.
“A lot of kids and a lot of drug dealers in and out that are coming and going all hours of the night,” said Bob Hockenbrought. “They’re dropping stuff off and the kids are running it back and forth.”
The man who was attacked in the stolen wallet incident had serious injuries.
“They took him down to the ground and commenced stomping on his face into the pavement and on his abdomen and chest. They broke two of his ribs, punctured a lung which caused his lung to collapse,” Courtier said.
Police have made a total of seven arrests in the attack, including two juveniles, four adult teens and a 42-year-old woman.
One woman who didn’t want to be on camera says her neighborhood is under siege.
“I’m nervous, frightened. Don’t want to leave my house because I don’t know what’s gonna happen when I’m not home.”
“They are very clear in letting everybody know that they will rob you, they will break into your home, they will hurt you,” Courtier said.
The neighbors plan a community meeting for Thursday night at 7 at the Pretlow Library. A Norfolk Police spokesman confirmed the department will be represented, and residents say they’re encouraged by the increased patrols in their neighborhood.
“(Lately the police) have been there day and night. But these kids are so brazen that the cops will leave, and they’ll come back 15 minutes later,” Hockenbrought said.