Police: “The violence we saw over the weekend was senseless”

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Marisa Cortez, a resident of the south Richmond community of Southwood, says he doesn't have enough money to pay his rent this month. C

Cortez was robbed and beaten three weeks ago for the $2,800 he was carrying in his wallet.

Cortez says living in the Southwood Apartment complex has been difficult after a series of crimes, including armed robberies.  The third weekend crime in the neighborhood happened after a man was shot and wounded  Sunday evening.

Richmond Deputy Police Chief, Eric English, said the department is investigating several violent crimes that occurred across the city Saturday night into Sunday evening. Police say it's one of the most violent weekends the department has seen in years.

A total of six people were shot in four separate incidents.  Two of the shootings were fatal, including one on Clarkson Road and one on East Brookland Park Blvd.  The victims have been identified as 18-year-old Garrick Lamont Ellis of Richmond and 40-year-old Victor Clarkson Soriano Aviles of Chesterfield.

While police don't believe the shootings are related, robbery appears to be the primary motive in several of the crimes, English said.

"The violence we saw over the weekend was senseless," English said. "We can't tolerate it as a police department."

He added the department is responding by strategically placing more officers in areas where they've seen the highest concentration of violence.  The department is also working to take more illegal guns off the streets in collaboration with Virginia State Police.

Since June, the department's Firearms and Fugitive Task Force has confiscated more than 100 illegal firearms.

While English is unsure what sparked this weekend's rash in crimes, he said that overall violent crime in the city of Richmond is down this year, compared to last year.

There have been 22 homicides so far this year, compared to 25 last year. There have been 87 people shot this year, compared to 94 last year.

While English said the decreased numbers are a win for the department, he says that police are aiming to decrease violent crime by a much larger percentage.

"We just can't be satisfied because we have crime down," English says. "We have to really work hard to reduce and diminish the amount of gun violence we see in the city."