PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Former EMT Jasmine Baskerville said her instincts kicked in when she found a man who had been shot late Wednesday at an apartment complex on Gateway Drive in Portsmouth.
She performed CPR on the young man, but it wasn’t enough to save his life.
“I saw he was shot in the hand,” Baskerville said. “His hip, his chest, his hands were swollen. He was slowly breathing. He wasn’t talking. Around the third round of chest compressions, his heart stopped.”
Around 10:30 p.m., officers responded to the 3600 block of Gateway Drive, and when they arrived, they found a man suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Medics responded and attempted lifesaving measures, but the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said an investigation is ongoing.
Baskerville said she is frustrated at what she calls a false sense of security at the Westwind apartments, noting there is a security camera there that she understood was not working at the time of the incident.
Community activist and pastor Barry Randall-Jenkins said that, to begin with, Black lives need to matter to the Black community. And parents need to step up before the police.
“Black people need to take accountability for their own issues because the police can’t arrest people out of crime,” Randall-Jenkins said. “We can’t lock up enough people to stop criminal behavior. We have to take accountability.”
Likewise, he said the city needs to up its enforcement, asking how it can care about the bigger issues like homicides if they seemingly don’t care about the smaller issues.
“We are still able to see vehicles riding around in the city with 30-day tags from 2020,” he said. “We still have — I saw a gentleman driving in a city vehicle smoking a cigarette. And that’s illegal to smoke in city vehicles now.”
Changing the mentality is just one small step.
Portsmouth Police have published a Crime Reduction Plan, outlining crime stats and what they plan to do in the future. One of those things is something called the “Gang Resistance Education and Training” program, or GREAT, which is supposed to foster healthy relationships between youth and officers so the younger generation doesn’t fall into gang-related activity.
Meanwhile, Baskerville urges the simplest of actions — speaking up.
“There are a lot of people watching,” she said, “but not a lot of people reporting or doing any action, and that’s messed up.”
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Portsmouth Police Investigations Bureau at 757-393-8536 or the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. People can also use the P3Tips app.