Worries grow as homicides spike in Virginia's capital city

George Carrington III was excited to become a father. He loved cars and couldn’t wait to buy his son a Big Wheel tricycle, his mother said. But they never met — the 17-year-old was gunned down in Virginia’s capital city three days before his girlfriend gave birth to George Carrington IV.

“There’s no reason that George’s life should have been taken,” said his mother, Virnita Carrington. “He was waiting for his baby boy.”

Carrington was one of 61 people killed in Richmond’s deadliest year in a decade, up about 50 percent from 2015. Homicides are at their highest level since 2006, when there were 81.

The killings remain well below the more than 100 per year that plagued the city throughout much of the 1990s. But the increasing toll has people worried, and weary of burying their children and parents.

“The community, they’re tired,” said Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham. “And I get tired of going to vigil after vigil, seeing the tears, seeing the mothers mourn and friends and family mourn the death of their loved ones, only to come back to do it again the following week.”

Nationally, violent crime remains much lower than its peak in the 1990s, and murder rates are still declining in some cities. Murders are projected to drop nearly 5 percent in New York City, and after Baltimore suffered a surge in violence in 2015, its murders are on track to drop 6 percent this year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

But homicides have climbed recently elsewhere, and the overall homicide rate for the nation’s 30 largest cities in…

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