Hampton police chief addresses recent increase in gun violence

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – In the span of about two weeks, eight people have been shot in the City of Hampton.

“We know that the summer’s coming. We know that more people will be outside, and there are going to be additional challenges as we go forward,” said Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult.

Two of the victims died late last week, right before police said a woman was killed when someone struck her with a car near Apple Avenue. Days after that, police said a bullet that entered a home on Huffman Drive struck a 13-year-old boy. He went to the hospital, but was not seriously hurt, police said.

“We noticed an uptick in the number of shootings back in late October, early November, and at that time, we put together a gun crime task force to put a stronger initiative out in the street, more enforcement in regard to gun crime activity and weapon law violations. When we did not see a decrease by December, we doubled the number of officers that were on that unit, and we have, since that point, started to see a considerable decrease in the number of weapon law violations that we’ve seen out on the streets, which means, reduced shootings… We have to be vigilant. We have to manage this and we have to go after it,” Sult said.

Police, community sending a message after 3 homicides in 2 days in Hampton

According to police, there have been four homicides this year — three fewer than during the same time period in 2016.

“We are down considerably over last year. We hope that trend continues.The other thing to note too is that of those homicides, most of them are domestic related, which is a little unusual for us,” he said.

Chief Sult believes the division’s strategies are working, despite what the city has seen in recent days, but he adds, police need the public’s help.

“If we don’t have folks in the community comfortable enough to come to us and tell us what occurred and what they witnessed and be a witness to a crime, then it’s very difficult to solve crimes.”