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Advocate: Richmonders not coming forward when kids are shot is ‘tragedy’

RICHMOND, Va. – Mayor Dwight Jones and Police Chief Ray Tarasovic addressed crimes involving children at a Tuesday morning press briefing at Richmond Police Headquarters.

Since the beginning of 2014, three children have been shot in the city, and those cases remain unsolved.

“No child should grow up gathering memories of being shot in their neighborhood.  That is unacceptable, and I am outraged,” said Jones.

The mayor urged the community to “say something if you see something suspicious.”  Jones also said getting illegal guns off the streets is a top priority.

A 23-month-old girl is recovering from injures she suffered after she was shot inside her South Richmond apartment Sunday. Police sources said the shooting appeared to be accidental.

A five-year-old child was injured during a shooting at a Mother’s Day cookout in Richmond’s Whitcomb Court last month. No arrests have been announced in connection with that shooting.

“With all of those people present, no one has come forward to specifically identify a suspect and be willing to back that up with testimony and that troubles me,” Chief Tarasovic said after the shooting. “I am terribly concerned that we have not received an outcry from the community that cause us to make not an arrest, but an immediate arrest.”

The May 1 beating death of  eight-year-old Marty Cobb made international headlines. The South Richmond child was beaten while defending his older sister from a teenage attacker, Cobb’s family said. Police arrested the suspect in this case.

Chief Tarasovic pointed out that the crime rate is “only slightly higher” in 2014, but added that Tuesday’s press conference was called because of the “recklessness” involved in the recent string of shootings. The chief called the recent spike in crime a community problem and asked for the public’s help.

“If that community support starts to wane then it’s my job. It’s our job to restore that community trust of us,” Tarasovic said.

When asked if citizens would be protected if they tipped off police, Tarasovic  said that if a tip is given anonymously, it will remain anonymous.

“But the problem with anonymous information you can’t get convictions on anonymous information,” Tarasovic said.

Carrie Cox,  a member of Southside Debaters Seeking Solution 4 Change, said she tipped off police and officers protected her.

Cox reiterated that police cannot do their job alone.

“They can pick up bullets off the ground and they can do all the forensics in the world,” Cox said. “But to have people stand around and actually see this, and not say anything about that’s a tragedy.”

However, one Fulton Hills resident, who spoke with CBS 6 on the condition of anonymity, said city leaders could do one thing immediately that she thinks would help.

“We need more police officers. We need more resources,” she said.

The woman said she worries about her own safety after the shooting outside a convenience store where a 7-year-old was caught in the crossfire in February.

“That little boy got hurt and nobody knows who done it — and that’s not fair. That’s somebody’s son,” she said.

If you have information about any of these shootings that could help police, please call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

15 comments

  • Ron Melancon

    Really Mayor? We are thinking you are more focused on a baseball stadium than crime, for example if your legacy was summed up in one hour 45 minutes would be time spent on a baseball stadium, 10 minutes on the Redskins stadium, 1 minute in the 400,000 play money 1 minute on pot holes, 1 minute on leaking school roofs, 1 minute on broken school buses, 30 seconds on city jail construction and 30 Sevonds on crimes against children and citizens …..
    We get the impression that you are not interested in crime but you will talk and lecture how Great building a 80,000,000 playground for Nutzy is but will not help build Marty’s Playground

  • R Moffett

    Press conferences and political platitudes will not solve the problem? If long past the time to stop talking and start acting – a concept lost on today’s politicians.

  • Bobby R.

    So the Mayor is outraged. What baseball stadium has he had his head under since he took office! Oh yeah, the one that exists only in his and the City of Richmond CAO’s mind. To paraphrase a famous author, ‘me thinks thou doth protest to much’?

  • darrel

    great more outrage,few more vigils,few more minutes talking to neighbors.Until you tackle the real issue with your race and in your communities its all for not.Pc Maybe the naacp should take the lead on crime among its people instead of only getting involved when someone of another race says something they don’t like all while becoming rich off their brothers.

  • Glen Allen

    I find it disgusting how the mayor and his Chief can turn this around and blame it on the citizens of Richmond – the very people whose taxes pay their salary. These people are not coming forward because they are afraid of retribution, and no one connected with the Mayor of this City has earned the respect or trust of anyone familiar with them. When you cheat, lie, and twist the law as often, and as blatantly as Mayor Dwight C. Jones, respect and trust is next to impossible to obtain

  • manalishi

    This is how democrat plantations work. Let the tolerant chumps reap what they sew. In the mean time, we will have to cheese away our tax $ so thy can Obamaphone a useless police report.

  • Kenny Powers

    Maybe if you policed the city with the same zeal you do bike races, St Patrick’s day festivals, and Redskins training camp. You might see a reduction in violent crime, and citizens would jump on board….bottom line is, that this crime occurs in low income neighborhoods, so city leaders could care less. Just as long as sports backers and the Redskins have enough cops, that’s all that matters.

  • mbaker9105

    You just know the Police / Investigators get so tired of going to these crimes only to hear the same old story, nobody knows or saw anything. After a short while I’m sure the folder just gets put in a file cabinet. Until the communities step up and take part, the cycle will continue. Police aren’t magical beings, they require evidence and leads. The same inner city communities who bemoan and honor the child who died defending his sister are the same communities that dishonor him by not showing the same bravery as that little boy. Hiding indoors and dialing 911 just isn’t going to fix the problem. Help the Police help you.

  • R Moffett

    There are likely a number of reasons witnesses or others with information do not get involved. I’d imagine that fear of retaliation is likely the biggest. Those of us fortunate enough not to live where many of these unconscionable crimes occur, don’t really understand the stress under which these folks live.

    I’d agree that police officers are not mind-readers, but police presence and effectiveness could be greatly enhanced if officers weren’t diverted by the City Administration from their primary duties and overworked by the excessive numbers of street festivals and other entertainment events, many often on the same day, Let me be clear, I am not criticizing police officers but an incompetent, “all talk. blame, excuses and no action” city administration.

    There is plenty of blame all around, but better use of law enforcement resources by the Administration and fewer diversions from their primary duties would certainly help. Citizens are tired of the Mayor and Chief of Police constantly holding press conferences to mouth platitudes and try to deflect blame. Talk is cheap; Richmond taxpayers want effective action.

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