NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) — For the third time since March, community members attended a memorial for a 15-year-old Norfolk homicide victim.
“We need to get it together,” said Bilal Muhammad, a community activist with Stop the Violence. “If for nothing else we need to get it together for the kids.”
On Monday evening, Monti Hughes became the third 15-year-old to die since March in the city. While a suspect has been arrested and charged, Hughes’ aunt said it doesn’t make anything easier.
“To know somebody your whole life and their whole life and suddenly, due to an act of senseless violence, their life is taken … is very tragic,” said Shaquel Whitfield. “It’s unreal, it’s unreal.”
Hughes was supposed to enter his sophomore year at Granby High School in several weeks. Instead, his presence in the building will only be represented by “Long Live Monti” T-shirts.
“You have no choice just to see he was loved out here,” Whitfield said looking at the hundreds who showed up to Huntersville Park on Wednesday to light candles and pray.
Hughes loved to play video games and loved to dress well, according to Hughes. She doesn’t know why anyone would do what they did.
“The kids won’t play at the play park nowadays because people are shooting senseless. Like really it got to stop!”
In an effort to curb violent crime, city leaders tell 10 On Your Side that it has invested in programs to help keep teens occupied and engaged this summer, including the Norfolk Emerging Leaders program, which gives kids jobs so they can earn money and be productive.