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HOLMBERG: Another slaying in Richmond in plain view of children

RICHMOND, Va. — As Richmond police continued to investigate Sunday night’s near-fatal shooting of a 23-month old baby girl inside a South Richmond apartment, gunfire erupted in another South Richmond apartment complex early Monday evening,  leaving a young man lying dead –  in plain view of a neighborhood filled with children.

That shooting happened shortly before 6:30 p.m. in the Midlothian Village apartments in the 4000 block of Midlothian Turnpike.

A Richmond Police Department spokeswoman said officers got on the scene within  a minute of the shooting call.

One neighbor said she heard three or four gunshots. Dozens of neighbors, many of them children, gathered under the bright, sunny, evening skies as investigators worked the scene. The victim was lying on his side where many could  clearly see him.

Family members identified the victim as Develle Thomas, age 21, the father of a baby girl who came to the scene in the arms of a relative.

The victim’s father was among those who could see him. “That’s my son,’ he sobbed.

An aunt asked aloud why police didn’t cover the body with a sheet. Within 20 or so minutes of the shooting, police had pushed the crowd back far enough to prevent most from seeing the victim.

Develle Thomas’ mother came to the scene, still recovering from recent colon cancer surgery a month ago. Now this.

The aunt and the father said Develle Thomas had grown up in the neighborhood, nearer downtown on Roanoke Street. They talked about how much they loved him, and how worried they had been that something like this would happen.

Court records show Thomas had a lengthy history of arrests for trespassing and other charges in this very same South Richmond apartment complex.

This shooting came less than a full day after a 23-month-old girl was critically shot in an  apartment on Harwood Street in the Hillside Court housing project.

Police aren’t saying much about the incident, other than the shot was fired inside the apartment and they believe other adults were there when it occurred, but weren’t there when police and rescuers arrived.

The baby has since stabilized. No one answered the door of that apartment when CBS 6 went there several times Monday.

That nearly fatal shooting came about three weeks after the broad-daylight,  Mother’s Day gunfight in Whitcomb Court that left a 5-year-old boy shot in the crossfire. And that incident was just  days after 8-year-old Marty Cobb was murdered, allegedly by a teen with mental problems.

Earlier in the year, a 7-year-old was hit by a bullet during a shootout on Fulton Hill.

And the number of children hit by gunfire in the city could’ve easily been much higher. Two weeks ago, when two teens were shot by an angry adult on the park and playground across from Blackwell Elementary School in South Richmond, several young children were right there on the playground. The children and an adult  working with them had to run for it.

This morning (Tuesday) Mayor Dwight Jones and Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic will address this wave of violence that has a had such an impact on the children of the city.

17 comments

  • T

    when white people go shoot up malls and schools I guess we should say another day in the life of whites. be for real IGNORANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • R Moffett

    How can we pretend to be surprised at the rapid rise in violent crime given the extent to young people, lacking adequate parental supervision, guidance, care, and positive role models, are constantly bombarded by the violence that permeates popular music, TV shows, movies, and society?.

  • Tonya

    T, you are right. Did Tom say anything when that white guy killed the teenager and police officer over nothing. This is sad.

  • TJ

    It’s not to do with race. Things like this correlate more with socioeconomic status. You very rarely see this happen among blacks that have gone to college, gotten married, own homes, etc. Most of these senseless fatalities occur amongst the more disenfranchised population which is constituted sadly by many blacks and people like to equate that to their overall culture which is a misnomer. That being said, the city should get to the root of the problem and start educating these people (of this particular socioeconomic status) and start from a young age. The cycle must be broken.

  • Mo Fiscal conservatism

    I think a baseball stadium in the Bottom will cut down on crime, in that area at least. Bring baseball to downtown Richmond!!

  • jameswilliams

    This city has gone renegade but the victims are children, Mayor Dwight Jones need to be trying to put something together that will deter the perpetrators when they pull out their weapons with a lengthy sentence where the punishment fits the crime. They need to know the a reputation is a reservation for death.

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