[Clarification: The shooting described in this story took place in unincorporated North Richmond, which is under the jurisdiction of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department and not the Richmond Police Department. Both areas have had a lull in gun violence in the past few months; prior to Tuesday's the last fatal shooting in North Richmond was on July 3, and there has not been a gun-related homicide in the city since Aug. 26.]
A drive-by shooting on Monday night in the unincorporated part of North Richmond broke an 80-day spell without gun murders in the city of Richmond and its unincorporated neighbor.
Raymone Boyd, an 18-year-old Oakland resident, was gunned down and killed around 9 p.m. at West Ruby Avenue and Second Street. A nearby woman was also shot and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
After a flurry of gun violence, murders and gang retaliation over the summer, the streets had been unusually quiet for months.
The last fatal shooting occurred on Aug. 26 when a 67-year-old Fijian woman was killed during a home break-in. On Sept. 20, Jensy Romero was murdered in Angie’s Bakery and Restaurant, the result of a domestic dispute that did not involve a gun.
Were the last few months just a lucky spell or was something changing in Richmond?
Richmond Police Dept. Captain Mark Gagan said the ebb in violence might be attributed to a task force initiated in July between the Richmond and Contra Costa County Sherriff’s departments to provide increased law enforcement in North Richmond.
“Several non-profits and [the Office of Neighborhood Safety] have also been focusing their efforts on the young men that are involved in this type of violence,” he said.
RPD Detective Nicole Abetkov said there are a variety of factors responsible for the decrease in fatal shootings, including that a number of repeat violent offenders are currently in custody.
“You can’t really say it’s one faction,” she said. “It’s a collective effort between us, the community and groups like ONS.”
But this week’s drive-by could have a huge impact on street violence in Richmond.
“Earlier this summer, we saw a direct correlation with shootings in North Richmond and shootings in [the city of] Richmond,” Gagan said.
Shootings in Richmond follow a reoccurring trend — one incident of gun violence precedes a storm of retaliation, before things settle once again.
The RPD is working with the Office of Neighborhood Safety, the Contra Costa County Sherriff’s office and the District Attorney to find an effective strategy to reduce the likelihood of retaliation, Gagan said. One solution has been deploying additional RPD officers in Central Richmond.
“We have our detectives talk about who was targeted and how the shooting went down,” he said. “And we also have officers use a high visibility patrol style in areas where we can anticipate retaliatory shootings.”
Of the 25 homicides in the city of Richmond this year, nearly all were by guns and, excluding the home break-in, all of the victims were black or Latino. Murders in unincorporated North Richmond are not calculated into the city total.