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Richmond’s murder rate climbs past 2015: ‘It is a concern’

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Two Thursday murders increased the City of Richmond's murder count to 16, compared to four at this time in 2015.

“It is a concern,” said Lt. Michael Alston with the Richmond Police Department.

The two most recent victims were killed in separate shootings on Thursday.

Eric Banks, 35, was shot in the 1900 block of Raven St. in the Mosby Court neighborhood.

Kemberly Williams, 49, was shot inside a home in a drive-by shooting just steps from the Creighton Court Housing Project.

Lt. Michael Alston

Lt. Michael Alston

Thursday’s homicides occurred within Lt. Alston’s police precinct.

“It is some public housing neighborhood, things that are going back and forth with disagreements that is resulting in violent acts, random gunfire, and shooting into occupied dwellings and shooting at people as well,” Alston said.

Community activist Charles Willis said the people doing the shooting have no idea how to peacefully resolve issues.

“Our folks needs to be exposed to other opportunities in resolving conflicts,” Willis said.

Although Richmond has seen low murder rates in recent years, he said the numbers were bound to climb.

“Just because it quiets down for a moment, doesn’t mean it’s not lurking around the corner,” Willis said.

N. 29th and Y St. homicide

N. 29th and Y St. homicide

Lt. Alston said domestic violence is another contributing factor in this year’s homicide numbers. He said at least seven of this year’s murders resulted from domestic issues.

Dana Schrad, the head of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said family violence is trending up nationally.

“There seems to be sort of an overall tendency to take a violent measure to solve a minor dispute," Shrad said.

To try to stop the violence, some community groups are organizing a conflict resolution workshop on Saturday April 9.

The Citywide Violence Prevention Conflict Resolution Workshop is being held from 10-2 at the Royal Manchester Event Center located at 1173 Wall Street, Richmond, Virginia 23224.

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