‘I am so sick and tired’: Virginia police chief decries gun violence epidemic

A police chief in Virginia made an emotional call for action against the gun violence epidemic in the United States, after three women were killed and two injured in a shooting last week.

“I am so sick and tired of saying the same old, same old,” said Larry Boone, the Norfolk police chief who has previously sought to address gun violence nationwide, in comments that were widely shared online.

Saying he was intentionally using the term “mass shooting” to describe the incident as a way to draw attention, Boone said: “If this was a tragic event involving officers, this whole damn street would be packed. And it should be, it should be. But this should be too.”

Among campaigners against gun violence and for gun control reform, the term “mass shooting” is generally held to refer to any incident in which four people, excluding the shooter, are killed. Debate continues into whether such a definition is helpful.

In 2019, Marisa Booty, a research analyst for the Center for Gun Policy and Research and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told the Guardian: “We hear about high-profile mass shootings that are happening at schools and in churches but a lot of violence in neighborhoods isn’t being as heavily weighted.

“Regardless of the circumstances of the incident, multiple people are being shot and potentially killed, and people are suffering lifelong consequences.”

The shooting in Norfolk in which three women were killed and two injured was being treated as a suspected domestic violence incident.

A 19-year-old man shot and injured a 19-year-old woman, an eye witness said. When the woman’s mother and a friend came to help, the man shot and killed them both. Another neighbor was killed while another person who responded to the shooting was injured.

“Nothing they could do,” a neighbor who witnessed the shooting but who asked to stay anonymous told WAVY, a local NBC affiliate. “They were shot execution-style. They had just come home from work.”

The three women who were killed were identified as Detra R Brown, 42; Nicole Lovewine, 45; and Sara E Costine, 44.

Ziontay Brian Ricardo Palmer was charged with three counts of second-degree murder, one count of malicious wounding and four counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was held with no bond.

On Thursday, Boone spoke near the scene of the shooting. Referring to children who witnessed it, he said: “It breaks my heart to look at those young kids … trying to process what they’re looking at. I’m a grown man with 30 years of police experience and it shook me to my core. I can only imagine what it did to those kids.”

Addressing dozens of people, Boone asked: “How long are we going to be performative and say pretty words? Where’s the action?”

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