Community activist fears retribution following deadly Norfolk shooting

Anthony Sinclair

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — He is now Norfolk’s 19th homicide this year, and the search is on for a killer. It’s a case that even has the police chief addressing a bigger picture problem with crime in the city.

The shooting happened early Tuesday morning at the Days Inn on North Military Highway. The victim was identified by police as 18-year-old Anthony Sinclair.

Following that shooting, Police Chief Larry Boone issued a call to action to the community: The violence must end.

“We alone cannot change the behavior or actions of the individuals that encompass our community,” the chief’s statement said in part.

Community activist Michael Muhammad calls Anthony Sinclair’s death an “untold tragedy for the rap community with reverberations for a long time to come.”

It appears in the beginning, Sinclair cared more about rapping than going to school. That is until his cousin, Victor Sinclair, told him that’s not the way it’s going to be.

“I had to discipline him. ‘You need to go to school. You aren’t going to do that rap stuff, and drop out of school…’ We came to a common agreement. I came to find out he was good. The lyrics, well, I don’t know, but he was good. The kid had skill,” Victor said.

Anthony graduated from Granby High School.

Victor questioned Anthony about rap lyrics and the things that come with making rap videos.

“That’s my boy, you see,” Victor said. “The guns in the video — everybody painted him out to be a monster, painted him out to be a gangster.”

His family is well aware of all that was Anthony, and the big question they ponder with no answer: Do they think the rapping about gangs, guns, drugs and violence led to his death? Victor says, “It’s possible. It is possible.”

Muhammad credits Sinclair with brokering a gang truce between two groups.

“The term ‘gang’ is a loose term, but what I think is more important to us as a group of young people who have inspiration and aspiration, but they have no direction and if we only gave more attention to the promise of these young people.”

Victor remembers Anthony as, “A gentle giant. People who know him and his fans and the people who love him, we thank all of you for keeping his music playing.”

Muhammad fears more trouble ahead in the wake of Anthony’s death.

“I feel there is going to be a tremendous amount of gunfire and conflict in the coming weeks, based on this shooting and other shootings,” he said.

On the day of Anthony’s death, Chief Boone issued his statement on how gangs, guns, drugs and violence are the cancer on the environment of public safety. Muhammad responded, “I think the culture of crime should be what we are after, not just gang, guns and violence. Those are the symptoms of the greater problem of the mentality of crime.”

Chief Boone ends his statement to the community by saying, “The age of tolerance and silence has to end. We have to invest in our youth to create positive opportunities of hope for their future and the generation to come.”