NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Troy and Chanell Ketchmore, who run the advocacy organization Ketchmore Kids, had been working in another neighborhood to help teens in Newport News.
That was until last week, when Police Chief Steve Drew asked them to start working in the Courthouse Green neighborhood that was the site of a shooting Sunday that killed a teenage boy.
It’s the same neighborhood in which Drew held a community walk and talk event in July 2022.
Around 3:50 p.m., Newport News Police Department responded to a report of gunshots fired in the 400 block of Hustings Lane.
The officers on scene found the 16-year-old suffering from a gunshot wound, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It’s always unfortunate because we fight so hard to try to create spaces where they can grow and develop without fear of being killed or hurt,” Troy Ketchmore said.
A neighbor told 10 On Your Side he frequently hears gunshots off in the distance, but never this close to home.
“I know it happens all the time, but it’s never right at your door,” he said.
He said he had just let his dog outside.
“I came back in and I was sitting at the table, me and my cousin and what I thought was the lid to my grill closing down was actually a gunshot,” the neighbor said. “The body was laying by the big green thing and it was so early that they didn’t cover it up.“
He says the Courthouse Green neighborhood isn’t immune to violence, but normally, it’s further away from here.
The Ketchmores recently launched their Please Stop Shooting Campaign. They are asking residents to put a free sign in their yard showing they stand against violence. You can also donate to help their campaign.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t something that just started today,” Chanell Ketchmore said. “You have entire communities that are completely devastated and each time we lose someone to gun violence, the devastation increases.”
“The people running for office, they need to see that this is important to people, because we are losing,” Troy Ketchmore said.
They work to teach teens conflict resolution strategies and how to process grief and also work with parents too. They say the problem of teen gun violence didn’t just start today, and it’s going to take people working together to fix it.
“Some of the challenges that we face now, we are still facing,” Chanell Ketchmore said, “so even as young adults it’s been really important for us to give back to do our part to try to help people and help save lives.”
They also offer a program for parents called the Triple P Parenting Program.
“I tell people if you focus on changing the world and not the mind, then that same mind will produce the same world,” Troy Ketchmore said.
The witness told 10 On Your Side he has kids similar in age to the boy who died. He told us that “it’s just sad, I hope it gets better.”
Detectives are reviewing area and speaking with witnesses while forensics personnel are processing evidence, police said.
No suspect information has been released. This an ongoing investigation.
If you have any information about this case, you can submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-888-LOCK-U-UP, downloading the P3 tips app to a mobile device, or visiting www.P3tips.com and submitting a tip.