Reward offered in Richmond double homicide


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Police said Monday that a young woman had just picked up her boyfriend from work and it may have been a case of mistaken identity. They say whoever did the shooting used a lot of firepower.

"They, from all appearances at this point, it seems like they're innocent victims at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Richmond police Sgt. Bisa French.

That is how police describe a young couple that became the latest victims of gun violence in Richmond. The man and woman, both in their twenties, were sitting in a Nissan at a stoplight near the intersection of Carlson and 47th Streets, when at least one gunman fired dozens of rounds into their car.

Now, leaders of Richmond's religious community are calling for an end to the gunfire that has claimed 30 lives this year, three more than all of 2008.

"The pot is so hot right now that the only thing we can do right now is let it cool," Rev. Raymond Landry told ABC7. "Any time someone would take out a gun and take away a man and a lady, and not think... That's a boiling pot."

Police have put four additional patrol units on the streets but the shootings continue. Just 14 hours after Monday night's murders, in the same neighborhood, police were investigating another shooting in an apartment complex, in the middle of the day.

This time no one was hurt.

Police say at least some of the recent violence stems from an ongoing turf war between rival gangs. So far, they do not think Monday night's double-murder victims had any gang ties.

"The victims don't seem to be part of any of the past violence that we saw, any of the conflicts that we've seen," said French.

Community leaders just want to clear a path to end the violence.

"We're saying to these young people today, 'Do not go out and retaliate.' It starts with that man and that woman right now, that feel like they want to pick up a weapon and take someone's life," said Rev. Andre Shumake.

Police have few leads in the case. They are hoping for witnesses to come forward. To encourage that they are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Anyone with information regarding the double homicide is asked to contact Richmond police Detective Gus Vegas at (510) 621-1244 or the homicide division (510) 620-6612. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can contact a 24-hour tip line at (510) 232-TIPS.

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