NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk community is coming together after last weekend’s mass shooting in Norfolk.
Neighbors gathered at Immanuel Presbyterian Church on Thursday to discuss putting an end to the constant violence in their area.
That shooting happened late Saturday night into Sunday morning on Killam Avenue, right off-campus from Old Dominion University.
Two people died, including a Norfolk State University student. Police say it started after a house party was announced on social media. The building owner told us his tenants were out of town at the time.
The gun violence problem, city officials said Thursday, is not just a Highland Park problem, a Norfolk problem or a Hampton Roads problem. It is a national epidemic and it’s getting worse. People in the Highland Park neighborhood are afraid, they’re concerned. On Thursday, police laid out some plans to make the community safer.
“No more violence. We’re done with it. We’ve had enough,” said one speaker during the meeting who owns a local hair salon.
Norfolk citizens are tired and ready for change after last weekend’s mass shooting.
“I heard one boy talking saying he watched that kid’s head explode. He’s going to live with that for the rest of his life,” said another Highland Park resident who lives next to the home where the shooting happened.
In a two-hour town hall, members of the community talked through their concerns with city officials and law enforcement.
“People like to think of violence as a problem. It is a symptom. A symptom of other underlying issues,” said Ramin Fatehi, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Captain Alan Johnson of the Norfolk police department stressed to citizens that law enforcement is here for them and if they have a concern, to report it.
“We don’t run away from it. We run to it,” Capt. Johnson stated.
Chief Garrett Shelton of ODU’s police department said the number one goal is to keep everybody safe. Chief Shelton explained how his force works hand-in-hand with the Norfolk police department, sharing resources on weekend nights in case something should happen. During the ODU/Virginia Tech football game last week, there were 100 police officers on campus.
ODU also has a party registration system where students can alert the campus when a party is going to take place so that police know who the point of contact is in an emergency. The system was created by ODU students in 2016 after a student was shot in the leg for not letting someone into a party that was invite-only.
Highland Park residents listed parties, gun violence, lack of lighting and noise as their top concerns.
“They start getting loud at about 11:30/12:00. They spill out into the yard at about 12:30/1:00 and the fights and the shootings happen at 1:30/2:00,” said another citizen.
Capt. Johnson promised a lighting survey would be conducted on 51st Street and Norfolk’s city attorney, Katherine Taylor, revealed a new city noise ordinance is in the works to cut down on out-of-control partying or nuisance housing.
At this point, no arrests have been made in the mass shooting as police continue to investigate.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.