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Newport News -- Two shocking murders in Newport News' southeast community have prompted residents to take action.

Almost two years ago, James Dix was gunned down. Police say a teenage boy chased Dix, robbed him and shot him in the back.He was a chef at Hampton University.

In January, a 71-year old church deacon named Joseph Williams, Jr. was on his way home to bring dinner to his wife when he was caught in the middle of gunfight. Williams was shot and died.

The violence in Southeast community has residents concerned.

'There is a negative stigma that is attached to the Southeast community,' said Saundra Cherry of the Downtown Newport News Merchants and Neighbors Association. Cherry and her group meet once a month to come up with ways to improve the climate in the Southeast neighborhood.

'We have to do something about the violence that's happening in our community,' Cherry added.

Newport News Mayor McKinley Price attended Thursday night's meeting. He says residents need to get involved to truly make changes.

'This is something that people are living with everyday and until they choose to change how the community is, it's not going to be effective,' Price noted.

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