Apr 16, 2024 - News

RPD activates curfew after string of teen gun violence

Photo illustration of a Richmond Police cruiser with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Image

Richmond police are ramping up patrols in "hotspots" and activating an 11pm curfew for teens in response to a spate of gun violence that killed four teenagers in the last two weeks.

Why it matters: Eight Richmond Public School students have been shot and four of them killed since Easter. Elementary school students were among the youngest victims; a 14-year-old middle school student was the youngest killed.

The big picture: In an emotional press conference Monday, Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards, Mayor Stoney and RPS superintendent Jason Kamras pleaded with the community to help them curb the sudden increase in violence.

  • "The common theme in these murders are simple arguments that have escalated into gunfire," Edwards said Monday.

Driving the news: In response to the recent killings, beginning this week state police will help RPD patrol 21 "hotspots" where the city has seen the most gun violence.

  • RPD will also provide "security and extra police presence" at RPS drop-off and pickup locations, especially in East End schools.
  • An 11pm curfew for teens is also now in effect.

Richmond, like its adjacent localities, has a long-standing youth curfew on the books, running from 11pm-5am.

  • Violations can be punishable by a max $500 fine and mandatory 20 hours of community service, according to city code.
  • It's unclear how strenuously RPD plans to enforce the curfew. Edwards said his hope is that parents will ensure their kids are following it and that police will not have to intervene.

Between the lines: Frustration, sadness and palpable anger — that was the tone from officials at Monday's press conference.

  • "Everybody has a damn gun," Stoney said.
  • "These are small arguments that escalate, but everyone in the argument has a gun — that's how we're seeing what we're seeing," Edwards said.
  • "This has to stop," Kamras said.

Stunning stat: "Since 2019, 169 juveniles in the city of Richmond have been shot. Nearly all of those were RPS students," Kamras said Monday.

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