RICHMOND, Va. – Police are investigating the city's 14th homicide of 2017 after a woman’s body was found in a Southside church parking lot Saturday evening.
Officers were called to the Metropolitan African American Baptist Church in the 5200 block of Warwick Road around 6:30 p.m.
That is where police discovered an unresponsive adult female with what officials called "apparent injuries."
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Candice Ponds has lived across the street for 13 years. She says she saw the police lights Saturday night, but she was speechless when she found out someone had been killed.
"That's tragic. This is a lovely neighborhood. Everyone knows each other. Never had any crime happen over here."
Church leaders didn’t want to comment on camera, but the told CBS6 they didn’t have any events going on Saturday evening.
Ponds says the church is very busy and popular.
"Church service goes on almost every day. It's a good church. My son was actually in daycare and my niece is in daycare over there, so I'm very familiar with the church,” she said.
This marks Richmond's 14th homicide so far this year. For residents like Ponds, the killings are hitting too close to home.
"This is really bad. I haven't seen it this bad three months into the year in a very long time. I don't know what's going on in south Richmond,” said Ponds. “It's a huge concern because we have a lot of kids. We want our kids to be safe.”
The Medical Examiner's Office will determine the victim's cause and manner of death, police said.
"Richmond Police are hoping that someone in the area may have seen or heard something that may be helpful to the investigation and lead to the arrest of a suspect," officials said in a news release.
If you have information that could help investigators, call Major Crimes Detective G. Bailey at 804-646-6743 or contact Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or at http://www.7801000.com.
Submit tips to GUN250 about persons illegally possessing guns by texting Crime Stoppers at 274637, then using keyword “GUN250” followed by your tip. Rewards up to $250. Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.
Stay with WTVR.com and watch CBS 6 News for updates on this developing story. Anyone with more information can submit a news tip here.