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City leaders react to recent gun violence at Virginia Beach oceanfront

City leaders react to recent gun violence at Virginia Beach oceanfront
Posted at 1:50 PM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 13:58:53-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach City Officials are looking at what additional measures might better manage crowds on major event weekends in the city after two violent shootings, that left eight people shot within a 24 hour period. 

The city issued a press release on the issue Thursday, WTKR reported. 

“From the Chesapeake Bay beaches to Mount Trashmore and from the Oceanfront to Sandbridge, we estimate that more than 100,000 visitors joined with thousands of local residents to enjoy our beaches and other recreational areas over the Fourth of July holiday,” said City Manager Dave Hansen. “There is nothing more important to us than making sure people feel safe and these incidents are particularly disturbing because they appear to have been unprovoked.”

Thursday morning at around 12:30am police responded to 19th and Atlantic Ave for a shooting which injured six people.

In the release issued they said, “Dozens of officers responded within seconds and located six people with gunshot wounds. Officers detained several subjects and a firearm was recovered from one individual who has been charged with brandishing a firearm.  Five victims were transported and one individual drove on their own to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. They have been released.”

Police also said there was a married couple injured along with four other victims who didn’t know each other. The victims were just walking with the flow of pedestrian traffic on the west side of Atlantic Avenue when they were struck by gunfire.

Officials said they were all from out of town.

According to the statement issued, “While none of the victims reported any problems or disputes during the night that could have led to them becoming a victim, one City camera picked up a possible dispute in the crowd in the 1800 block just before the shooting.”

“We are investigating the possibility that a separate incident led to reckless random shooting that resulted in injuries to these six people,” said Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera.

On July 4th at around 2 a.m. two people were shot and hurt.

It happened on the 1300 block of Atlantic Ave. Police released a statement about this incident as well:

“The two men were confronted by three other males. One of the three males, later identified as Sherwin Lee Tann, 21, produced a handgun and fired a shot, striking one of the two men. The spent round struck a passerby who was grazed by the round. Officers responded, took Tann, a juvenile with Tann, and another man into custody and recovered two handguns.  Tann was charged with aggravated assault, malicious wounding and various firearm and drug charges.  He is in the Virginia Beach City Jail on no bond.  The juvenile was charged with possession and intent to distribute marijuana. The third man was released. The male victim of the gunshot wound was shot in the leg and taken to a local hospital for treatment. The victim who was grazed by a bullet refused treatment.  The suspects were visiting from North Carolina. The victims were also visiting from out of town.”

“Gun violence is a growing problem in America. The fact that we are the safest large city in the country is of little comfort to those who were injured by irresponsible and reckless individuals who apparently have such little regard for the lives of others,” said Chief Cervera. “The City takes extra measures, especially on holidays and other large event weekends, to provide a safe and family friendly environment. We always increase staffing for these holiday weekends and will continue to do that. We may consider additional steps to help manage crowds once the festivities are over, like close parking lots sooner to encourage earlier departures for day visitors.”

Lots currently close at 2:30 a.m.

Police continue to investigate these incidents and are asking anyone with information to contact Virginia Beach Police at (757) 385-4101. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may contact Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

The president of the Virginia Beach Police Benevolent Association 34 Brian Luciano issued the following Facebook post after the shooting:

“Today, the citizens of Virginia Beach awoke to the news that 6 people were shot at their oceanfront,. They also heard reports of 2 other gunshot victims walking into a Virginia Beach hospital. I’ve no doubt that these stories have rapidly spread, and will continue to spread, to areas well beyond our immediate reach. I would presume that many are shocked by what they are reading today. They are shocked by the level of violence on Atlantic Avenue. They are shocked that this would happen in their city. I know one group not shocked this morning. Their Police Officers. Time and time again this organization has detailed its concerns, knowing where we are headed. We have gone all the way up the chain of command. We have gone all the way to the city manager. All through city council. With VERY FEW exceptions, we have been dismissed. “They’re just disgruntled”. “All they do is complain, that’s what they do”. ” They’re never happy, all they want is more money.” “At least you have a job, you’re getting a pay check aren’t you.” “Don’t worry about them, they’re just a handful of votes”. “Taco Bell is hiring” . All comments made, and heard. Heard LOUD AND CLEAR. HEAR THIS…We are watching and listening. We are watching how you vote. We are listening to how you prioritize the issues before you. We are listening for who advocates for the safety of our citizens. We are listening for who advocates for the men and women sworn to protect, and expected to die, for them. We will hear the same talking points today…Random…Isolated…Safest since the 1960’s. .. What will you cause to occur by ignoring commonsense and what is unfolding before you? Is a pier important to you? An arena? A ferris wheel? Or is it safety? The choice is yours, but today many are checking out of their hotel rooms vowing to never come back to Virginia Beach, no matter the height of your ferris wheel.” – Brian R. Luciano, President