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Family of Portsmouth shooting victim, city leaders seek to address gun violence

David Branch was shot and killed at the Riverwalk Inn & Suites in Portsmouth on Feb. 2, but his family members say they don't want this to happen to anyone else.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Portsmouth Police Department is searching for 32-year-old Demonte Worrell in the shooting death of 40-year-old David Branch. 

Detectives said Branch was shot and killed on Feb. 2 at the Riverwalk Inn & Suites along Effingham Street. They said a woman, who Branch's family said is his girlfriend, was seriously hurt in the shooting.

RELATED: Portsmouth Police seek suspect in hotel shooting

Branch's family started a vigil Monday evening to not only honor the loss of life, but also to shine a light on the much bigger problem in Portsmouth.

“I was mad…angry. I hope this person just turns himself in," said Branch's sister, Tulsar White.

White said she always felt close to her younger brother who is also a father but lost that connection in the first week of February when her brother was shot and killed.

“He had no problems…none," said White. "They need to stop the violence…they need to stop.”

Pastor Barry Randall with All People Culture of Life Church said he is growing tired of this growing pattern of gun violence in Portsmouth. He said he knows families connected to these shootings, including Branch's family.

“I was just dumbfounded. I really was like what is going on? What is it going to take for people in Portsmouth to feel safe?” said Randall. "We have to come together as a community and say enough is enough."

Randall said it’s up to the entire community to break this pattern of violence, but he said it starts with action instead of words. 

“Don’t wait for murder to happen at your doorstep. Don’t let it be your son to be buried before you take an active role in the community," said Randall. “I don’t want to hear another sermon, another step, another lecture…I want to see some action.”

Portsmouth Police Chief Renado Prince showed up to the vigil to speak with the family and other community members. Randall says he wants to find ways in which the community can help police to stop violent trends earlier.

The Portsmouth Police Department is asking anyone with information to call their crime line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or use the Crime Line’s “P3 Tips” app. You can remain anonymous. 

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