Norfolk Police arrest 2 teens in fatal shooting at playground; community rallies against gun violence


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Two teenagers have been arrested and charged in the shooting death of a teenage girl Tuesday at a playground on Pollard Street in Norfolk.

Police say a 16-year-old girl is charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm during a felony. A 13-year-old boy is charged with possession of a firearm by a juvenile and concealing evidence, Norfolk Police announced Wednesday.

Officers were called to the playground in the 900 block of Pollard Street around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a gunshot victim.

Officers arrived to find the girl suffering from a gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Family tells WAVY News the victim was 15 years old. However, police say she was 17.

WAVY also spoke with the victim’s father, who identified her as Deajha Williams.

Police say both juveniles charged in the homicide are being held at the Norfolk Detention Center.

“How many more lives have to be lost or ruined before we say enough is enough,” said Norfolk Police Chief Larry D. Boone in the police news release. “Babies, children, and teenagers are getting shot in our backyard and across Hampton Roads. This incident alone cost one girl her life, ruined two others, and they’re all under the age of 18. I have been saying it for years, ‘where’s the adult leadership, where’s the responsible gun ownership, where’s the programs to reduce gun violence, where is the mere opportunity of hope?’ Together we can save lives, together we can inspire positive change in our communities, and together we can change this narrative, but it will require a monumental effort from all of us. We need to get this right, and right now.”

A community rally was held Wednesday evening at the playground where the shooting happened.

The community is calling for an end to gun violence, calling it a pandemic that’s affected the community for too long.

“This is a symptom of a root problem because something is missing,” said one speaker. “The thing that’s missing is you.”

“When we’re absent, things like this happen,” he continued.

The community came together to support Deajha’s family. Her father, Jesse Smith, read a Bible verse to share an emotional message of peace.

“She wasn’t perfect — but to be gunned down maliciously in the streets, in public? It’s time for us to wake up,” he said.

Passionate speakers called on the crowd to take action, starting at home.

“If we don’t take care of our own, who’s going to take care of them?” said one man, who identified himself as a cousin of Deajha. “Don’t let the streets raise your kids — you raise your kids.”

Leaders and activists said it can’t stop there. They encouraged people to speak out against crime in their neighborhoods.

“We got to secure our own community. We can’t rely on the police department only,” said community activist Bilal Muhammad.

On Tuesday, the Norfolk police chief spoke to 10 On Your Side about recent gun violence across the region involving children.

Boone said gun violence is a societal issue and police need assistance from the community to change what’s happening on the streets.

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