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'It's hard to deal with' | Portsmouth city councilmember has a plan to change the pattern of recent string of gun violence

A series of shootings in less than 36 hours left three dead in Portsmouth, including a 16-year-old boy. Vice Mayor De'Andre Barnes says the violence needs to end.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — One scene after another, gun violence is growing in Portsmouth.

Detectives with Portsmouth Police say they are trying to find who opened fire outside of the Sportsplex along Portsmouth Boulevard Tuesday night, killing a 16-year-old boy. A 15-year-old boy and an adult man are in the hospital after also getting shot.

The investigation doesn't stop with this incident. Police say they are also looking into who shot and killed a man and hurt a woman at the Riverwalk Inn and Suites Wednesday morning along Effingham Street.

Portsmouth Police say they found a man shot and killed early Tuesday morning along George Washington Highway and another man hurt from a gunshot wound nearby.

All these incidents added up to three deaths and four people hurt just within 30 hours.

Portsmouth Vice Mayor De'Andre Barnes said he understands what it's like to grow up with gun violence. So, when he hears about young people getting killed during a violent night in his area, he said it hits close to home, after he lost his own cousin to a shooting in 2018.

"At 12 years of age and some of these kids are younger than that... it's hard to deal with," said Barnes. "You can't arrest your way out of crime and you can't prosecute your way out of crime."

Barnes said part of the solution is changing the lifestyle for people at a younger age. He said it starts with investing more money into youth programs in Portsmouth.

"They started and chose that lifestyle somewhere else," said Barnes. "We have to prevent these kids from choosing that lifestyle. We can't ask for a kid to put a gun down and don't put anything to replace it." 

Barnes said he hopes investing in the younger community will eventually turn the city around in the future.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on any of these cases to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. You can also submit a tip online at P3Tips.com.

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