HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — There was a noticeable spike in violence in Hampton leading up to the weekend.
In two days, three people were murdered in Hampton. Over the weekend, police say another shooting occurred that left a man injured.
The first in the string of homicides happened Thursday night on Quash Street, where police say a 17-year-old is charged with the shooting of 27-year-old Travis Wardick. Police say they knew each other.
The crime happened at the same intersection police say a 30-year-old was shot and killed a month earlier, which marked the first homicide for the city in 2017.
It’s also the same place where the Advancing God’s Kingdom Worldwide Fellowship House of Worship sits. Charles Smith is the bishop.
“I grieve for the parents, because they don’t know everything and a lot of them don’t even know why. What we know is it involves young people and a matter of respect,” Smith said.
Bishop Smith says it’s a hard to break a cycle of violence.
“They feel like they are stuck and the only way they know how to make money is in a violent situation that causes violence,” he said.
The same violence is the cause of two other homicides.
On Friday, police say a 16-year-old was found dead in an alleyway on Catalpa Avenue.
The most recent homicide was a case of domestic violent on Apple Avenue, police say. Hampton police say 51-year-old Joseph Dunston forced a woman into his car, assaulted her and hit her with his car. 52-year-old Carolyn Tucker died. Dunston is charged with her murder.
Bishop Smith says there are still changes to be made.
“There’s always one or two that really are looking for something and hopeful and connect with the right people,” said Bishop Smith.
Police also need community members to come forward. Police Spokeswoman Ashley Jenrette says two of the four homicides this year are unsolved and it’s important for residents to speak up.
“You always have some who are hesitant and afraid to speak, but you have some who want change in their community,” Officer Jenrette said.
According to Jenrette, since the department created the Gun Crimes Task Force in November 2016, the total number of firearm-related violent crimes are down 50 percent. By this time last year, there were seven homicides in the city, which contributed to 2016’s total of 22 homicides.