Tag Archives: Murder

Long Time No Post!

Rachel DePompa – bio | email    

I know, i know… long time no post! Ok, but it’s not my fault. I spent a week in Appomattox and Lynchburg and then got shuffled to Charlottesville. I’ve been drowning in sad, terrible stories. I didn’t have the energy, the will to write, the mental state or the time. (Excuses, I know, but the truth.)

Appomattox:

My trip west was difficult, trying and sad. I was in Blacksburg when Cho went on his murderous shooting spree at Virginia Tech, so naturally my station sends me to Appomattox.  I have experience covering a story like this, but it doesn’t make it any easier. So, much loss of life for no reason is still astounding.

Missing Morgan:

I was covering a funeral in Lynchburg for the Appomattox shootings on Monday and by Tuesday I was rushing to Charlottesville where a body was found. I knew instantly it was Morgan. I called her parents as they were on their way to identify their daughter’s remains. There was terrible sadness, but also much relief in their voices. I can’t imagine going three months not knowing where your daughter is or what state she’s in. I know they have found some peace finally having her body to bury.

Snow:

Remember when snow was a pure joy? You couldn’t wait to get outside and play in it.? Snowball fights, ice castles, frozen toes.? (I used to fight with my mom about how long I could stay out in it without freezing.) I remember hoping for snow on a weekend so we could enjoy it and then have extra days off from school. There was  nothing better. Oh what a difference adulthood makes! I now hate snow. I hate the word and I hate standing in it. Snow = work. There’s nothing worse than standing outside all day telling people not to drive because it’s dangerous. You freeze and you repeat yourself over and over and no one listens. Today I saw more than 100 abandoned, disabled and crashed vehicles. UGH!

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Sick of Sad Stories

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

Sorry for the delay but I was enjoying the long holiday weekend. Coming back to work is never fun after a long break, but this time it was especially difficult. It appears I’m destined to cover sad and unusual deaths this week. Yesterday, Eric Driver was indicted on a second degree murder charge. He’s the college student who shot and killed a man breaking into his girlfriend’s car. We went back to Union Hill Monday to the intersection where the shooting happened. Folks in the neighborhood have very strong opinions on his indictment. And there seems to be no middle ground here either. People either believe Driver was in the right or they don’t.  It’s going to be interesting to see what a jury of his peers decides if this case gets that far.

Today I have the misfortune of reporting on a terrible tragedy. A 13 month old boy was left in his day care van and died. The driver’s been charged with felony child neglect. I can’t imagine what the little boy’s family is going through. They trusted the facility to care for their son. And then to think of the man who left the child in the van. He must be heartbroken. I covered a story like this when I worked in Blacksburg, VA. A mother thought she had dropped her child off at daycare and went to work. She never took the child inside and when she returned to her car after work, her child was dead in the back seat. So terrible. Sometimes the bad news just gets to you. Hoping for a much lighter day tomorrow.

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Breaking Down Richmond’s Murder Rate

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

As of now, we stand at 27 homicides for the year. Another shooting is currently under investigation and we’re awaiting word as to whether the death of a women in the Museum District last week is a homicide. Last year we had 32 murders… A 37 year low. Once you reach a record low, there is inevitably no where to go but back up. That fact, coupled with the economy means crimes of desperation are on the rise. We’ve seen a string of convenience store robbers in the past week, where the suspects opened fire. A clerk was killed, another was shot six times, but is expected to survive. I spoke with Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring at length today. He, and Police Chief Bryan Norwood say the economy is a factor. Drug activity is also soaring again. There are a lot of reasons contributing to a rise in the rate, but you have to also step back and look at the bigger picture. Even 30 or 50 murders this year is far less than the 80 to 90 we averaged just 10 years ago or the 180 a few years prior to that. Last year may have been an anomaly, but it’s too soon to start pointing the finger at local agencies or people in new jobs. We need to stay vigilant as a community and watch out for our neighbors.

Successes so far this year:

Commercial Burglaries- down 49%

Commercial Robberies- down 47%

Aggravated Assaults with Firearm- down 26%

Purse Snatching- down 43%

Crime to watch so far this year:

Individual Robberies- up 10%

Theft from Buildings- up 31%

Theft from Motor Vehicle- up 53%

 

 

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Union Hill Murder Update

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

This is a story one of those stories that strikes a nerve with many viewers. People have sent me countless emails debating whether or not Donald Driver should have been charged with second degree murder. (For those of you who have been in a vacuum, Driver is the Virginia Union student police say caught a man breaking into his girlfriend’s car. He ended up shooting and killing the alleged thief, Jamal Hollman.) Tonight we’ve learned A LOT more about exactly what happened on April 22nd at the intersection of 22nd and Leigh. 

We learned at a preliminary hearing today from one witness that Driver chased Hollman and fired at least six shots. Driver’s attorney says Hollman was hit three times. A witness who was walking his dog in alley saw part of the shooting. He heard two shots then he saw a man running and another man chasing with a gun. That witness told the judge he, “Didn’t see anything in his (Hollman’s) hands. He (Hollman) wasn’t making any threatening gestures or anything.” 

A police officer was a block away and actually heard the shooting. He arrived seconds later and testified that he saw Driver walking up Leigh Street. He says Driver told him, “Dude, just tried to break into my girlfriend’s car and i’ve got a gun.” (Driver then pointed to his waistband) The officer also said Driver told him he thought Hollman had a gun.

We learned today that NO second weapon was ever found. Police even brought in a dog that specializes in smelling firearms and they drained the sewers in Union Hill.  Hollman died wearing a black mask. On the ground was a paper bag allegedly full of stolen items. Police also found a watch and cell phone on the ground. 

Now this was just a preliminary hearing, so Driver has not yet had a chance to put on his defense. His attorney tells me there will be evidence of a brawl. He says Driver will testify that Hollman attacked him. Driver’s attorney says his client feared for his life. AND THAT IS THE KEY! In Virginia, you have no legal right to use deadly force to protect personal property. This is one of those cases that will truly need a jury of peers to decide what happened out there. The case heads to the grand jury on July 6th. That’s when I’ll have my next update.   

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Richmond Police… Busy! (To say the least)

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

It’s all crime all the time! (At least today) Two sad stories out of Richmond overnight.  First, the co-owner of the “Come and Go Food Market” on Jefferson Davis Highway was gunned down during a robbery late last night. I thought that was going to be my story today, but when I walked into the newsroom I found out a woman’s body was found lying between two parked cars in the Museum District.  It’s not clear what happened to her. Police called out both the homicide team and the crash team. That’s usually a sign they believe the person was hit by a car. If you have any information on either crime call 514-TIPS. 

Crime Solved: Police do believe they were able to solve a series of burglaries in the lower Fan District this month. In May, our Crime Watch reporter Andy Jenks told you about several home break-ins in the 1100 block of Grace Street. Police picked up more patrols in that area and this month arrested a man on grand larceny charges. They are not releasing his name because they want to show his picture to several other victims and see if they can link him to at least burglaries. Thought I’d leave you with a little good news too!

 

 

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