NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — One section of Newport News was the scene of four shootings in the last week, and the numbers add up to a community on edge.
It’s a sound East End residents hear too often: “Gunshots have become kind of the norm,” said resident Jennifer Sanzari. “It’s sad.”
Last week, a woman running for city council was caught in the crossfire during one of several shootings near Ivy Avenue. When the 911 dispatcher asked her how many shots she heard, she said about 20.
At the time, she thought she was the target of the shooting; she told the dispatcher someone was shooting at her car and her shot out windows seemed like proof. Later investigators learned she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and another nearby shooting had extended to where she was.
Still, the recent violence in the area left three people injured. Residents say it’s nothing new. But there is growing fear.
“Everyday life is hard and then you add the crime,” Sanzari said. “You have to be scared to even walk out your door.”
Sanzari has lived on Ivy Avenue for 10 years, and she believes the condition of the surrounding area has worsened over time.
“It is all about whose street corner belongs to who,” resident Terry Riddick added. “That’s the bottom line.”
But Riddick nor Sanzari live without hope for a less violent Newport News.
“If we can come together as a people, because we are all supposed to be here for each other,” Sanzari said. “We need to be able to lean on one another and not fight each other.”
Riddick and his brothers started “Stop the Violence Best Kept Secret” in 2005. It is an organization aimed at curving crime. He would like to see staff from his organization and police officers on most corners the East End, but right now the city doesn’t have the budget to do that.
“If we can team up and partner and work together, we can do that,” Riddick said. “We can make a difference.”
Residents say they’ll welcome any improvements.
“I wish it would just stop, because once you’re shot, you don’t get up, like you are in a video game,” Sanzari added. “You know, how you see the bloody guy on the floor and he resets the button and you start over? Your character doesn’t start over. You’re done. That’s it.”
The latest shooting happened over the weekend on 43rd Street. The victim will live, but police are still looking for the shooter. If you know anything that could help investigators, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.