Improved relations between police and community credited for drop in homicides


The Richmond Police Department’s improved relationship with the community was again credited Tuesday for a year of low crime rates.

The city, which in 2009 had the second highest murder rate in the nation at 46 per 100,000 residents, has had just eight homicides in eight months in 2014. Last year, RPD’s homicide total of 16 was its lowest in 33 years, and the department is currently on pace to break that record.

We’ve reported in multiple stories the reasons for the decline. Tuesday’s CBS report notes that RPD under Police Chief Chris Magnus has developed stronger ties with community members, including clergy. That has led to a dramatic drop in violent crime, including shootings.

Below is the list of all homicides this year. Note that two of the killings were done in self-defense, according to police, including one where a business owner fatally shot a burglary suspect.

July 8: Patrick McHenry, 36, was stabbed to death in his home in the 500 block of Tewksbury Avenue as the result of a domestic dispute, according to police.

June 20: Jose Romero, 19, of El Sobrante, was shot and killed outside a small Richmond house party.

May 4: Lester Williams III, 25, was fatally shot and his friend wounded following a “petty argument” with neighbors.

May 3: Deonta Broussard, 31, of San Francisco, was fatally shot while driving on eastbound Highway 580 near Regatta Boulevard.

April 18: Pierre Reddrick Jr., 28, was fatally shot in the 1300 block of Coalinga Avenue when he and three others attempted to rob a business and were met by a gun-toting business owner, police say.

April 8: Terrance Forks, 16, was fatally shot near the Crescent Park Apartments complex, in the 3900 block of Fleming Avenue.

March 21: Clarence Wesley Celestine Jr., 24, was found shot lying in the street, fatally shot near S. 35th Street and Wall Avenue.

March 20:  Tammi Baker, 43, was shot dead near the intersection of South Fourth Street and Florida Avenue.


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