RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – In 2012, there were 42 homicides in the city of Richmond, according to crime records. The last victim was 28-year-old Michael Excell Alexander, who police say was gunned down on New Year’s Eve near Creighton Court in the city’s east end.
Friday evening, his family joined friends and about a dozen police officers to honor his memory.
Alexander leaves behind a wife, Tamere, and two young children, ages 3 and 5.
“What events led up to this?” she asked. “What did Michael do so wrong for you to take his life the way you took his life?”
Alexander’s body was found lying on the street near the corner of 29th and Newbourne Streets just before 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. When medical personnel arrived, they pronounced him dead on scene.
The medical examiner is still determining the exact cause of Alexander’s death.
Major Steve Drew with the Richmond police Department spoke at Friday’s vigil on behalf of the dozen or so officers that came out.
“The detectives take these cases very personal,” Drew said. “You can see that by the turnout here.”
Major Drew said detectives working on Alexander’s case believe they have solid leads into finding Alexander’s killer.
Police gave a description of the suspects involved in this case. They say two black men wearing all black were seen running from the scene on New Year’s Eve.
“There’s a few bits of the puzzle that still need to be put together,” Drew said. “But I feel very confident we will solve the case.”
Major Drew said investigators believe there were plenty of people in the area when this occurred. They are hoping someone saw something that could help detectives and that person comes forward.
“Michael loved his children, and I loved him for it,” says April Shelton, mother of Tamere Alexander and Michael’s mother-in-law.
A couple dozen people at the vigil Friday shared Bible verses, sang hymnals and signed a poster hanging on a tree near where Alexander was found that read, “R.I.P. Mike.”
Many at the vigil turned their thoughts towards Alexander’s two young children. Those that knew him well describe Alexander as a great father.
“We haven’t told them,” Shelton said about how Alexander’s children are handling his death. “When they ask for ‘Daddy,’ we just say, ‘Daddy has gone to heaven,’” she added. “They say, ‘What’s heaven?’ It’s hard.”
Alexander’s family held a private ceremony at Watkins Funeral Home after the vigil. It lasted approximately three hours.
He will be laid to rest on Saturday at noon. The funeral will be open to the public.
If you have any information about the events that led to Alexander’s death, please call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.