PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Just hours after Portsmouth Police Chief Stephen Jenkins relayed his frustrations about gun violence in the city, there were two more shootings — one fatal, and another that left a juvenile in the hospital.
“Either you’re a part of the problem or you’re a part of the solution,” an emotional Jenkins told City Council members.
About 30 minutes later, a juvenile was shot on Dale Drive. Police released photos of a red sedan they believe could’ve been involved in that crime.
Darrell Redmond, founder of Give Back 2 Da Block, was at both scenes and described what he saw.
“Outrage, frustration, disappointment,” Redmond said. “So, from a person who’s outside and doesn’t live it, they would see that it’s bickering, they’re not getting along, or they’re not — it’s not that. It’s, everybody is at the end of it and saying we’ve got to do something.”
Redmond also attended the Portsmouth City Council meeting earlier that day and recalled hearing the chief speak.
“He made a statement there that was very accurate, that it takes a holistic approach,” Redmond said.
He said it will also take using a different approach to curbing gun violence.
“When crime happens, as the chief spoke on last night,” Redmond said, “they’re going to point the finger at two people — the city manager and the police chief. But what resources are there like preventive measures and intervention measures?”
He said resources like street outreach workers are needed to help communities after government offices close for the day.
“Who do we have after 5 o’clock, because it closes at 5,” Redmond said. “People don’t want to talk to you at 9 o’clock in the morning when you weren’t there with them at 10:30, 11 at night.”
However, he’s optimistic that after Tuesday night’s memorable council meeting and the violence that followed, there will be a change in Portsmouth.
“Yes, I do,” Redmond said, “because if you listen to the statements from the city councilmen, they actually said that there’s a whole lot of different methods that need to be in place.”