‘I have 30 years police experience. That shook my core’: Norfolk police chief emotional following mass shooting

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The day after three women were shot and killed and two others injured at the hands of a 19-year-old suspect, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone gave an impassioned and raw speech that once again called for action.

“I am so sick and tired of saying the same old, same old. Each and every last one of you knows what drives this,” Boone said in his trademark booming voice.

Being direct and emphatic is nothing new for Boone. He has long lamented about the lack of action on the nation’s gun violence problem. Particularly, he often highlights the carnage it causes in the Black community.

“If this was a tragic event involving officers, this whole damn street would be packed,” Boone said, addressing several dozen people who gathered in the Young Terrace community Thursday afternoon. “And it should be, it should be. But this should be too.”

On Thursday afternoon, Boone, the mayor, other lawmakers, police and community members walked the public housing complex in a showing of solidarity.

The community has a track record of violence. In August, a 15-year-old boy was shot. A 17-year-old was shot and killed the year before.

“[Journalists] report on it, as you should. We’ll talk about it, as you should, and then 24 to 48 hours later nothing until the next one and we do it all over again. In the last 30 years here in this city, there has been over a thousand homicides, gun violence — 890 or so, give or take, were Black men. We would turn this city upside down if it was anybody else,” Boone said.

All victims and the suspect in Wednesday’s shooting were Black.

Even though Boone said the motives behind the shooting was domestic-related, he used the term “mass shooting” in an effort to draw more attention to the situation. The FBI defines mass shooting as an incident where four or more people are shot in the same location.

“How long are we going to be performative and say pretty words? Where’s the action? It’s not their fault this situation was created years ago strategically, and it’s going to take some strategic action to undo it from all of us,” Boone said.

Young Terrace is one of three public housing complexes slated to be redeveloped under the larger St. Paul’s redevelopment plan. The goal is to increase the quality of life for the 1,700 families that currently call the aging St. Paul’s community home and leave behind the neighborhoods’ poverty-stricken past.

However, that won’t come fast enough. Boone zeroed in on how children witnessed the shooting.

“It breaks my heart to look at those young kids over there. Trying to process what they are looking at. I have 30 years’ police experience. That shook my core. I can only imagine what it did to those kids,” Boone said. “We’re going to right this ship. It may not happen in my watch but God damn it, it’s going to start on my watch.”

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