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Norfolk police chief, mayor address recent wave of violence

Another crime-filled weekend in Hampton Roads brought three shootings to Norfolk, alone. Four people were hit in the shootings.

NORFOLK, Va. — Desperate pleas to stop violence in Hampton Roads.

Since the start of July, at least 30 people have gotten shot, 13 of whom are children. Last weekend, four people were shot in three separate shootings in 72 hours.

“Like, why? What was your point? What was your purpose?” asked Marcia Keeling.

Someone shot two of Keeling’s children on Saturday night on East Tanners Creek Drive. Keeling’s 17-year-old son is recovering. Her 15-year-old daughter, Teonna Coburn, died.

She said, “I miss her. All I got is memories and pictures and videos. That's not fair.”

That was one of three shootings in Norfolk in just 72 hours. Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander said it's time to come together and solve the growing gun violence problem. 

“Senseless. It's sad and it should not be happening in America,” he said. “Guns that are unregistered, guns that have been stolen or lost and have gone unreported, and those guns are ending up in the hands of a lot of our teenagers who committing these senseless violent crimes and shootings.”

Police Chief Larry Boone said gangs drive the crime in Norfolk and Hampton Roads. He said the increase in violence is due to a lot of different factors.

Chief Boone said, “I would say it’s a host of things. It’s generational poverty, it’s the guns, it’s the easy access to guns, it’s the lack of education. It’s the lack of healthcare. It’s the mental health issues. These kids are witnessing violent acts day after day after day, it becomes normal.” 

When it comes to children getting shot, Chief Boone said it’s alarming. He said children are also the shooters.

“Almost every child we stop when we have reasonable suspicion, almost every one has a gun on them. It's become as common as underwear,” he said.

But where are they getting the guns? Chief Boone said people are legally buying firearms, and then those guns get into the wrong hands.

“The most immediate impact we can have on gun violence is addressing the flow of guns," he said. “No one wants to look at that because they are afraid that's it's political... well dammit, folks are losing their lives.” 

Boone said something needs to change and now.

“No police department can stop this without the impact and support from the government and community,” he explained.

If you know anything that can help investigators about any of these shootings, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. You can also submit an anonymous tip through the P3 tips app.