NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk city leaders addressed the recent violence in the Mermaid City during a press conference Sunday.
Norfolk Interim Police Chief Mike Goldsmith mentioned three shootings that happened within hours of each other overnight.
We learned later from police about a fourth shooting that occurred on Nicholson Street.
The shooting on Killam Avenue left two people dead and five injured. 25-year-old Zabre Miller and 19-year-old Angelia McKnight died later in the hospital. Norfolk State University said McKnight was a second-year student at the university. She was a pre-nursing student from New York.
Goldsmith tells 10 On Your Side it all stemmed from a fight at a house party. The party was advertised on social media.
“This is not randomly picked. This is what is frustrating about these things right now. People get into a disagreement. They pull out a gun then they shoot each other. In the process of doing that, they shoot innocent people who end up dying. That cannot be tolerated,” Interim Chief Goldsmith said.
Around midnight, Sentara Norfolk General locked down the hospital for an hour. Sentara Healthcare said in a statement:
“Just after 12 am Sunday, September 4, 2022, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s Level I Trauma Center was locked down for approximately one hour for the safety of our patients and staff, due to a surge of patients from a significant incident of gun violence. Normal operations resumed when hospital leadership determined the situation was stabilized.“
“Sentara Norfolk General Hospital closed down to make sure they could take care of the mass casualty taking place in the city,” Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith said Norfolk Police reached out to other cities for assistance.
“It is not unusual in a mass casualty incident such as this to ask for outside help,” he said. “The very fact that we were able to handle this incident and get resources on scene.”
Interim Police Chief said the other two incidents in Norfolk were separate incidents. He said the investigation is active.
“We are very early into this,” Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith said investigators had done a mountain of work to figure out what happened.
He said multiple firearms were involved. Investigators sent casings and ballistic evidence to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Evidence community activist, Jason Inge, found some of the evidence outside the Killam Avenue home Sunday afternoon.
“We got bullet fragments that are here. These were found at the actual building,” he said.
Goldsmith said police still have witnesses to talk to.
“We are working very hard and the investigators are working very hard. This is a conflict resolution issue. This is an issue with a society that has decided to go to violence to solve their things,” he said. “People get into a disagreement. They pull out a gun then they shoot each other. In the process of doing that, they shoot innocent people who end up dying. That cannot be tolerated.”
Mayor Kenny Alexander started his remarks with “violence has no place in the City of Norfolk.” This message was echoed by all the city leaders. They said they are tired of the violence in the city.
The mayor said the number one priority is a safe city.
“Maintaining a safe city takes more than an engaged police force; it takes community partners; it takes a holistic approach,” he said.
He laid out the following short-term strategies and long-term initiatives to curb violence:
• Increased police presence throughout the city.
• Introducing a zero-tolerance public safety strategy.
• Employing High-Tech law enforcement tools in areas experiencing a surge in criminal activity.
• Partnering with peacemakers to assist with de-escalation training.
• Focusing in on the social and economic factors that breed crime.
Norfolk City Manager, Chip Filer, said he is planning a meeting with his trusted cabinet partners to identify additional things to do to stop the violence.
“We are getting tired of doing this on a consistent basis,” he said.
At the end of the day, the mayor says he wants the people involved locked up.
“We want persons who commit crimes in Norfolk, arrested and prosecuted and put away,” Mayor Alexander said.