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‘Pow, pow, pow,’: Northside neighborhood makes 38 calls over gunfire

RICHMOND, Va. – Residents said their Northside neighborhood sounded like a war zone Monday night.

Jessie Miles said she heard around 16 shots, that sounded like they came from an automatic weapon.

"Pow, pow, pow," she said.

“I was scared that there was actually something going on right in front of our house and maybe a bullet was going to go through the window or the wall,” Miles said. “I was actually ducking down on the ground.”

Miles said her boyfriend called 911 multiple times.

“On the sixth time that he called 911, a guy answered," said Miles.

“They told him that they’re really busy in Richmond and that they haven’t had any calls for that yet," said Miles.

Miles later spotted officers patrolling the neighborhood.

“You don’t really know if it was gang activity. If it was drug-related or what was going on," said Miles.

The Problem Solvers contacted Richmond’s Director of Emergency Communications, Stephen Willoughby.

Willoughby said dispatchers logged 38 gunfire calls in Miles neighborhood near Pollack Street.

He said the first call came in at 10:06 Monday night and dispatchers continued to receive more calls up to 10:14.

Willoughby indicated that a total of 63 calls were received and 11 of those callers hung up before connecting with a dispatcher. But Willoughby said the dispatcher called them back or the caller dialed back into 911.

He said in this case, that caller dialed in three times and hung up before speaking with anyone.

“I fear for the safety of my neighbors," Miles said and said she is not so sure she count on 911.

So, she invested in her own security measures.

“We already have cameras up. I definitely want to make sure my elderly neighbors have my number. So, if something happens that we can help them, if 911 can’t," said Miles.

Willoughby told the Problem Solvers 911 calls are answered in less than 20 seconds.

But Monday night it took dispatchers over 60 seconds to respond because of that shooting.

He said it's important for callers to stay on with 911 until a dispatcher answers the call.

And Willoughby insists there are no issues with the Richmond's 911 system.