A midday shooting in front of a North Richmond corner market left two people shot Tuesday.
Contra Costa County Sheriff’s deputies and detectives cordoned off the corner of Market Avenue and Fifth Street minutes after the shooting. More than two-dozen shell casings were strewn about the sidewalk and street, and a large bloodstain stretched from Rancho Market’s front door to the gutter.
The identity of the victims is not yet known. Two high-ranking Richmond Police officials said one of the victims had died.
The shooting comes on the heels of several days of elevated criminal activity in Richmond and unincorporated North Richmond, Richmond Police Capt. Mark Gagan said.
“Tensions are high,” Gagan said. “People are armed and out, and we have beefed up patrols in the city.”
Calls to the Sheriff’s Department were not immediately returned. Deputies on the scene were mum.
Lucky Braimah, the owner of the market, was at the cash register helping a young mother and her baby when the gunfire erupted.
“I just thank God that I was talking to her and she didn’t go outside when this happened,” Braimah said, adding that he and the woman and baby all hit the floor and ducked behind a partition to shield from the gunfire.
Braimah said he knew one victim as “Lonnie.” “When I looked out, the blood was gushing from his head. This is a warzone out here, and we need help. Violence has been tolerated in our community for years,” Braimah said. A Richmond city anti-violence worker said the man shot in the head was Lonnie Peterson.
Gagan said that since Thursday police have made several arrests, nabbed armed suspects in two pursuits, and investigated several nonfatal shootings in south and central Richmond.
“We are seeing more active gunplay between factions in town,” Gagan said.
There has not been a homicide in unincorporated North Richmond this year. There have been six homicides in the city of Richmond, including one at Shields-Reid Park, which is in the North Richmond neighborhood but on the city side of the border.
On the day after Thanksgiving last year, Marquis Hamilton, a North Richmond resident, was shot and killed while standing in front of the Rancho Market, which has seen several shootings in recent years.