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Community activists force into briefing on deadly gun violence

RICHMOND, Va. -- A group of community activists forced their way into a media-only briefing on recent deadly gun violence inside some of Richmond's public housing communities.

The briefing was intended for "credentialed members of the media" inside the large conference room at City Hall 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to a media advisory from Mayor Levar Stoney's office.

Omari Guevara, who identified himself as a community activist, was initially blocked from entering the briefing prior to the scheduled start time. He then tussled with a city employee and pushed his way inside the room before being allowed to stay along with other city residents.

"It's just unfair that we don't have the activists at the table that can pull people together," former Richmond NAACP President Lynetta Thompson said.

The briefing was scheduled after four people were shot and killed in two separate shootings in Gilpin Court, Sunday morning.

Hours before the Gilpin shooting, a man and 9-year-old girl were shot on Richmond's Northside at 5th Avenue and Burns Street. The man, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head, was pulled from life support, according to Police Chief Alfred Durham.

Mayor Stoney, Chief Durham, Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring, and Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority CEO TK Somanath discussed the efforts the city and residents can take to curb the violence seen in public housing communities.

Durham identified Mosby, Creighton, Gilpin, and Whitcomb Courts as the neighborhoods where his officers are seeing the most increase in crime.

"My staff are trying to bring some piece of mind and assurance that we are going to do everything we can to bring closure to these families," Durham said. "It's tough that we are not getting the help." 

Durham held up photographs of guns and drugs seized from homes located inside the public housing communities that he described as the catalysts for the shootings.

WTVR CBS 6's Melissa Hipolit will have a full report tonight on CBS 6 News starting at 5 p.m.