Old Dominion University officials address weekend shootings

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Police are looking for the people involved in two separate shootings near the Old Dominion University campus.

Four ODU students are recovering from gunshots wounds after being shot near parties over the homecoming weekend. A Navy spokesman confirmed that a fifth person, 26-year-old Keith Lendore, was shot and killed.

Lt. Michael Hatfield told WAVY.com:

Seaman Keith Oliver Lendore, 26 years old, joined the Navy in January of 2014. He reported to USS WHIDBEY ISLAND (LSD 41) in April 2014 and worked as a Deck Department Seaman. He received a letter of commendation from the ship’s Captain at the end of his tour of duty. He had been selected to receive training as a Navy Quartermaster and was due to begin classes today. He officially transferred from the ship on Sept. 15.

The first shooting happened Friday night around 11:45 p.m. near the intersection of 37th street and Killam Avenue.

Seaman Keith Lendore receives a letter of commendation from the Commanding Officer of USS Whidbey Island Cmdr. David L. Gray upon Lendore's completion of his tour Sept. 15.
Seaman Keith Lendore receives a letter of commendation from the Commanding Officer of USS Whidbey Island Cmdr. David L. Gray upon Lendore’s completion of his tour Sept. 15.

Police say they found Lendore on the ground, shot. He later died at the hospital. Police said two female ODU students were also shot but they are expected to live.

Early Sunday morning, Norfolk police said just before 1 a.m. they went to a house near Hampton Boulevard and 40th Street for a shooting. There they said two male ODU students were shot. Students told WAVY.com they were having a party to celebrate homecoming. Just before the shooting, 200 people were there and the organizers were trying to get people out of the apartment.
Witnesses said four men tried to get into the party and when they weren’t allowed in the men started a fight. A short time later someone started shooting.

Jennifer Roser is a senior ODU student who lives nearby. “I was very scared. It’s happened before. It’s nothing new, but it doesn’t become real until it happens in your own front lawn literally.”

According to the Norfolk Police Department’s online crime reporting system, since October 1 there have been 16 crimes in a quarter-mile radius of the intersection of 37th Street and Killam Avenue. During the same time period and radius there have been two crimes near the intersection of 40th Street and Hampton Boulevard.

10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings spoke to ODU Police Chief Rhonda Harris about the crimes. She said the university doubled its patrols over the weekend in preparation for homecoming. Although off campus, the crimes are still of concern.

“We’re encouraging our community any time there’s any sense of a problem or something escalating or a firearm at one of these events for them to call us,” she said.

Trying to deter crime, ODU has installed more than 1,550 safety cameras across the campus. They also encourage the use of the LiveSafe Mobile App which enhances communication via smartphone. Following a lighting study, ODU has increased its lighting by adding more than 100 lighting fixtures.

Chief Harris says the changes, made within the last year, have led to a decrease in crime on campus, but it doesn’t solve the crime problems off campus.

“It’s a code enforcement issue, it’s a lighting issue, it’s a policing issue, it’s a community education issue, and there’s not one thing that I could step to and say we could implement and we could stop crime either in our neighborhood or in anybody else’s neighborhood,” she said.

Chief Harris is planning to hire more officers and increase training all in a continuous effort to decrease crime.

From Thursday through Sunday there were 14 crimes reported on ODU’s campus. Those include: five narcotics violations, three liquor law violations and three vandalisms.

From Thursday through Sunday there were 20 crimes reported to have happened in the concurrent jurisdiction (this is the area surrounding the campus that ODU police still patrol). Those include: five narcotics violations, four liquor law violations, three larcenies and two vandalism reports.

Monday afternoon, an ODU spokesperson gave WAVY.com the following letter from President John Broderick:

Dear Colleague:

All of us are saddened to learn that 26-year-old Keith Lendore of Hampton died in a Norfolk shooting last weekend. While Keith was not an Old Dominion student, he was somebody’s son, somebody’s best friend and he will never have the opportunity to accomplish great things.

The senseless firing of weapons that took Keith’s life also injured four of our students at two separate events over the weekend. We wish them all a speedy recovery.

I talked with the Mayor and City Manager several times over the last few days about how we can better coordinate our efforts to improve safety, not only for our students, but all citizens in the surrounding area. We believe this would strengthen the joint effort of Norfolk Police and ODU Police to prevent dangerous incidents before they happen.

The University administration has aggressively implemented safety enhancements and educational programs that have reduced criminal activity on campus. These efforts are making a difference, but we understand there is more to do. I have been and remain committed to making our community safe. ODU Police will continue patrolling areas adjacent to the campus to proactively support the Norfolk Police Department, which has primary or full police jurisdiction of Norfolk neighborhoods surrounding campus.

This week and next, our Student Government will host open forums with administrators where students can discuss issues of concern and the ODUPD will offer safety education programming. We will continue working with our partners in the City and our Norfolk neighbors to advocate for our students’ safety.

Together, we need to do everything we can to help prevent further violence.

John R. Broderick, President

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