Portsmouth police officers walk through neighborhood of latest homicide

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Dozens of police officers and city leaders took to the streets Thursday night, speaking with residents in the Swanson Homes section of Portsmouth.

There, 36-year-old Gregory Brown was gunned down two nights earlier. Police have leads, but no suspects.

Officers went door to door during the community walk, which involved members of the department’s Rapid Engagement of Support in the Event of Trauma (R.E.S.E.T) team.

Chief Tonya Chapman said the effort is, in part, meant to “find out what’s going on in the community, as far as crime, as far as what led to this most recent homicide.”

Many in the neighborhood appreciated the presence.

“I really respect the officers when they come through here like this,” said resident Victor Wright.

“I think they’re doing a very good thing,” another man told 10 On Your Side.

One woman, who knew the victim, said that she wishes the walk had happened sooner.

“I appreciate them being out here today as far as what’s happening… it shouldn’t have took what happened a couple of days ago for them to be out here,” said Queen Whitehead.

Whitehead said she hopes the police return for another community walk, and for frequent patrols. She also hopes officers were able to leave with tips as to what happened to Brown.

“I hope that whoever knows about it has enough compassion in them to realize that if the shoe was on the other foot, they would want answers too.”

Chief Chapman said that the community engagement is about more than solving crime. It’s about listening to neighbors and building trust.

They asked residents about their specific concerns. Some requested more speed bumps, more lighting and more activities for the children.

Officers carried notebooks for jotting down concerns, and also held stuffed animals to pass out to children in the neighborhood.

“We just want to be able to help them in any way,” Chapman said. “Let them know the police department cares, that we are here for them… and stop the violence.”

To report a crimes anonymously, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

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