NORFOLK, Va. — Mike Pain acted quickly when he got the call Wednesday night.
“It takes a village,” said Pain. “That’s what it takes.”
The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority invited community partners to offer support in the Young Terrace community.
A gunman shot five women on Whitaker Avenue Wednesday night, killing three of them. Two others remain in the hospital and are expected to recover.
Pain, and his group, the original Black Panthers Militia, went door-to-door, talking with neighbors and passing out flyers connecting them to resources.
Kimberly Thomas, NRHA chief community engagement officer, said the need for resources is time-sensitive.
“This is something that we haven’t ever rehearsed for. This isn’t something that we have ever imagined that we would need to pull out of our toolbox,” said Thomas. “But I’m so very thankful that we’ve had a responsive community that decided to show up and show that we are here for this community and this neighborhood.”
Professional and faith-based therapists canvassed the community and offered on-site crisis and grief counseling to residents and frequent visitors.
“We are here as long as it is needed,” said Thomas. “This is not a community in Norfolk. This is our community in Norfolk, and we should treat it as.”
The shooting cuts deeply for Pain and others in the Norfolk neighborhood.
“Domestic violence, things like that, [have] been plaguing our communities for a while,” said Pain. “Violence in general, and something has to be done.”
Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone said Wednesday night, the shooting was domestic in nature.
According to investigators, 19-year-old Ziontay Palmer shot one woman, then shot the other four when they tried to help.
“It’s very dangerous to stand in between, say, a victim and an abuser, even without a weapon involved,” said Robin Gauthier, executive director of the Samaritan House, which helps people impacted by domestic violence.
Gauthier said she’s seen more deadly cases recently than throughout her career.
“In 20 years, I’ve never seen this type of violence, this increase, where you have bystanders being shot and killed,” she said.
She’s urging people to speak up for help at any sign of a “red flag.” She advises people who witness or suspect domestic violence, call 911 or a crisis hotline that can assess the level of danger.
Gauthier says it is important for people to know there’s help, which is why Pain says they needed to be in the community
“It takes bravery for people to speak up and speak out. It takes action, that is something that is needed is action,” he said.
If you are in need of services, the Samaritan House 24/7 hotline number is (757) 430-2120.
You can also call or text the YWCA of South Hampton Roads Crisis Hotline at (757) 251-0144.
The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority encourage any Young Terrace residents and visitors impacted by this tragedy to call (757) 848-3486.