PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A violent 24 hours in Portsmouth left five people with gunshot wounds in four different shootings. Two of those injured have life-threatening injuries, police say.
Two of the shootings started with arguments and one was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
Two men were shot Thursday afternoon on Town Point Road, leaving one with life-threatening injuries. Then, three more shootings happened across the city in a two-hour span on Thursday night.
As for what caused the shootings, Portsmouth Vice Mayor De’andre Barnes said “something happened with the gangs.”
Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover said he’s heard “rumors” to that effect, but can’t say for sure that gangs are the cause.
“I don’t have all of the details,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what it’s related to, it matters that we find out where it’s coming from, where its origins are, and that we hold these people accountable.”
On Friday afternoon Portsmouth Police released the following statement:
“We are aware of circulating posts on social media stating that there will be gang violence this weekend. We have no evidence at this time to substantiate that claim. It appears that someone is intentionally looking for material to post online to incite violence and fear in our community. We ask that you not forward these posts to help them. Always remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings but don’t help spread this fear. We will be patrolling throughout the weekend and will keep the public appraised of any knew information regarding this matter.”
This weekend, Mayor Glover happens to be at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Meeting in Reno, Nevada, where gun violence is top of mind.
“I just left a presentation, nationally most cities are experiencing the same challenges with finding police officers, hiring and putting them on the streets. But we will continue to work in that way to keep every citizen in the city safe,” Glover told 10 On Your Side.
Portsmouth is currently short more than 50 officers.
“We’re currently working with our sheriff’s department, and other resources are coming in with state police, so we are manning up as fast as we can,” he added.
Barnes agrees with that saying “the police is going to do the best they can do with the staff that they have, don’t blame them.”
Mayor Glover emphasized the city’s 11 p.m. curfew and said parents are the first line of defense against gun violence.
“Parents, caregivers, have to know where their young people are,” he said.