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Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone calls for change after 5 women are shot

"How many times do we have to do and say the same things over and over and over before we do something?" Chief Larry Boone asked after 5 women were shot, 3 fatally.

NORFOLK, Va. — The mass shooting in the Young Terrace community has rocked the people living there. Neighbors were emotional on Thursday as they said they and their young children watched a man shoot five women. Three of them died.

19-year-old Ziontay Palmer is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of malicious wounding, and five counts of use of a firearm. He is currently being held in the Norfolk City Jail without bond.

“We have become desensitized to this black and white. It’s time it stops,” Boone said. “How many times do we have to do and say the same things over and over and over before we do something?”

Neighbors told 13News Now that they are at a loss for words. They said many of their children were outside jumping on a trampoline at the time of the shooting.

Chief Boone called it heartbreaking.

“It breaks my heart to look at those young kids over there," Boone said. He paused and cleared his throat before continuing, "[I'm] trying to process what they are looking at. I’m a grown man with 30 years of police experience. That shook my core. I can only imagine what it did to those kids.”

Off-camera, one woman said she saw Palmer shoot all five women. She said he shot his pregnant girlfriend in the shoulder first.

The witness said that as the injured girlfriend ran for help, her mother -- Nicole Lovewine -- and her girlfriend Detra Brown walked up, not knowing what had just happened. Palmer then allegedly shot both of them in the head, killing them instantly.

Neighbors said two other women who are nearby neighbors rushed to help, but Palmer also shot them. One of those neighbors, Sara Costine, was killed.

Police said the two victims who survived will recover from their injuries. Neighbors said Palmer’s girlfriend is out of the hospital and recovering.

The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority released a statement on Thursday:

(NRHA) is devastated by the fatal shootings in our Young Terrace community on Wednesday night. We are committed to supporting all of our residents and the families impacted by this terrible incident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our families in Young Terrace. We are committed to supporting our you during this difficult time, and we are taking this time to work on healing in the Young Terrace community.

NRHA staff is currently going door-to-door this morning to ensure neighbors have access to counseling services needed to work through the trauma experienced last night. Counselors are available for walk-in appointments at the Young Terrace community center this week.

For families seeking support for domestic violence, people can call the VA Family Violence Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

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