NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A woman some know as the Auntie Advocate is calling for solidarity and peace following a violent Labor Day weekend.
Three people were killed in Norfolk in a span of just over 13 hours — all of the victims were under 25 years old.
“Our community has to want to go more for our kids,” said LaTonya Snow, a determined advocate against gun violence following the death of her 18-year-old nephew Xzavier Hill.
Jahari George, 20, a junior from Maryland studying engineering at Norfolk State University, was killed in an off-campus shooting in the 2700 block of Gate House Road late Saturday night.
A news story on the Norfolk State University website described George as having a “commanding presence … only eclipsed by his winning personality. His leadership qualities were evidenced by his active role in many campus organizations and activities.”
Just under two hours later, Precious McClendon, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene after she was shot in the 700 block of Church Street and East Brambleton Avenue near the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza and memorial. A 51-year-old man was injured. On Monday, Norfolk police and U.S. Marshals arrested 41-year-old Curtis Smith in connection to her death and hurting another man.
The Martin Luther King Plaza is the weekly location for the Love Ministry feedings hosted by Pastor Bruce Jones. The event was nearly canceled because of the active crime scene investigation.
“We serve the homeless here to offer them hope,” Snow said. “This is like our sacred ground.”
After the crime scene wrapped up, Snow said she wanted to give to those in need and pray for McClendon’s family and loved ones.
“[I said] let’s pray over the land, pray over the people because we can’t leave and make sure we honor her family,” Snow said.
The McClendon’s family is heartbroken sharing these pictures with 10 On Your Side and set up a GoFundMe to help raise money for her burial.
Unfortunately, after leaving the feeding event. Snow learned about a tragic shooting early Sunday afternoon in which Amir Burnette, a 14-year-old eighth grade boy who attended Norview Middle School, was shot and killed in the 5300 block of Wyngate Drive in the Crown Point neighborhood. Albert J. Sutton, 27, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Court documents obtained by WAVY state “the accused stated he did not mean for the firearm to go off and it was a mistake.” Sutton has a bond hearing scheduled for September 12 and a preliminary hearing in late October.
“My baby was a loving, caring, genuine, [and] wholehearted person,” said his mom, Ny’Shell Traynham. “How is it okay for a grown man to take a 14-year-old out of here? He didn’t have a problem with these people.”
After learning of the eighth-grader’s death, Snow decided to plan a community event.
“Eighth grade is the year where you have to mold the kid and we’ve gone through middle school in sixth and seventh grade,” Snow said. “His mom waited for this because I have an eighth grader. I know.”
Looking ahead, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Snow will host a ‘Show me what community looks like’ event at 5350 Virginia Beach Blvd.