RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Police are investigating a shooting in the Blackwell community of Richmond’s Southside that happened just before 10 p.m. Saturday.
According to Richmond police sources, a 16-year-old black male was shot near the 1100 block of Decatur Street. The victim was taken to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
Police sources tell CBS 6 News that a group of teens were at a party near Hull Street just before the incident, which likely stemmed from an argument.
A neighbor told CBS 6 News’ Jake Burns that they heard four shots fired in the area. Police roped off a 2-block perimeter to investigate further.
Police described the suspect as a black male in his early teens between 5 feet 5 inches tall and 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing between 150 to 160 lbs. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt with black stripes while feeling the scene towards Hull Street.
The shooting is a grim example of the continuing problem of violence in the Blackwell community, according to a local religious leader.
Pastor Robert Winfree grew up in Blackwell, on Decatur Street, and his church, New Life Deliverance Tabernacle, sits only two blocks away from the scene of Saturday’s shooting.
“We don’t have the violence prevention programs in the city [that we need],” said Winfree. “We have to put more money into prevention as opposed to responding and reacting. We are reactionary.”
Winfree said he has seen a shift in how neighbors in Blackwell interact with each another. The pastor said some in the community seem more prone to violence in recent years.
Crime numbers may back him up. According to police reports from 2011-2012 for the Blackwell neighborhood, the number of weapons violations and assaults increased in the neighborhood over that time period.
To Winfree, violence prevention begins with education. Winfree’s passion for helping stop violence in Blackwell partial stems from the loss of his son, who was stabbed to death five years ago.
“What did it do? It made me more active in trying to help people who have gone through those situations,” said Winfree.
As far as Saturday’s shooting goes, Winfree hopes his efforts can prevent other teens from resorting to violence
“We have to educate our kids,” said Winfree.
If you have information about the shooting that could help police, call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.