‘We’ve got to take action’: Lynchburg vigil calls for change after recent homicides

LPD chief: “We’ve got to come together to denounce these acts”

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Dozens of Lynchburg residents fed up with the violence in the city came together in a plea for peace Sunday night.

A vigil on the corner of 12th and Kemper streets remembered three recent homicide victims in the Hill City. Most notably, it eulogized 28-year-old mother Samantha Robinson, who was shot and killed when a stray bullet hit her while driving last week.

“We just can’t be quiet. We’ve got to take action,” said James Camm of One Community One Voice, who organized the vigil. “There’s a child without a mother. There’s a family that’s grieving without understanding.”

Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema and Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison strongly condemned Robinson’s murder during the vigil.

“I don’t know how else to say it, but I’m sick and tired of coming to things like this,” Zuidema said. “It means we have unnecessarily lost another life in our community.”

“This is a new low for our fine city,” Harrison said. “Any citizen of this city should be able to drive down the street without fear of a stray bullet.”

Robinson’s young son stood front and center during the vigil, and Harrison apologized to him for the shooting.

“It is shameful, and I’m sorry,” Harrison said. “I can’t imagine how you feel and how it hurts.”

Zuidema and Camm believe people in Lynchburg need to speak up and share their tips with police in order to prevent violent incidents from happening again.

“We’ve got to come together to denounce these acts,” Zuidema said. “It can’t just be figureheads talking in front of a camera. It’s got to be everybody.”

“This was a temporary situation handled in a permanent way,” Camm said. “That bothers me. We as Lynchburg citizens need to say we won’t tolerate this behavior in our city.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or Crimestoppers at 888-798-5900. You can also enter a tip online.

About the Author:

Taj Simmons joined 10 News as a reporter and multimedia journalist in January 2019.