Inside the gang violence in the city's public housing communities
A Richmond police cruiser bounces down a rutted alley toward a dozen teenagers hanging out behind one of the low, red-brick buildings that make up Mosby Court.
It’s a recent weekday afternoon – one of the first truly hot summer days, and between a double homicide of two teenagers in April, the killing of a Virginia State Police special agent in May and a dozen other shootings and killings, the 450-unit public housing complex has emerged as the symbolic epicenter of a violent year that’s only expected to get worse.
The two officers climb out of their patrol car. They’re interested in the graffiti on the wall behind the kids, where “Kobeworld,” “F--- Barry” and “F--- da road" are spray-painted in crude lettering.
The officers read it as coded references to an ongoing battle between violent elements of Mosby and nearby Creighton Court. The rivalry goes back years, and while the exact numbers are impossible to nail down, police and others attribute a not-insignificant portion of the recent shootings and killings in both neighborhoods to it.