mosby

Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen F. Robertson hugged Richmond Police Lt. Michael Alston after a vigil to honor Virginia State Police Special Agent Michael T. Walter on Monday in Mosby Court.

Mosby Court was supposed to be a solution. It metamorphosed into a problem long ago.

Friday night, State Police Special Agent Michael Walter was shot and killed in Mosby when he tried to talk with two men in a parked car. He leaves behind a family and a community of underprivileged Powhatan youth whom he mentored.

The man accused of killing him, Travis Ball, is a felon. He was a resident of Mosby.

Walter’s wasn’t the first murder in Mosby. As Metro columnist Michael Paul Williams pointed out in a Tuesday column, somebody shot and killed two teenagers who were not Mosby residents — Mikkaisha Smoot and Taliek Brown — in the small hours of a Wednesday in March. There have been many others.

But perhaps Walter’s death could be a turning point. The public-housing complex sure could use one.

In a Jan. 1 column, Richmond Mayor-elect Levar Stoney wrote, “Richmond is ready for change.” His goal, he said, is “to build one Richmond — a city that works, and works together — to make life better for all residents.”

Stoney said he would start with a comprehensive performance review of City Hall. Last week the team brought in to conduct the review issued its findings.

The mayor has followed through on that promise. Now it’s time for him to follow through on another. As he wrote in January: “We must take a proactive, bold approach to addressing violence in our community and making our streets safer. In the coming year, I will work with our police and criminal justice leaders to further reduce the gun violence that destroys families and terrorizes neighborhoods, while promoting community education and empowerment. Enough is enough. We must protect our communities from the scourge of violence, and we must teach our children how to peaceably resolve disputes and solve problems.”

That’s a tall order. Over the years, Richmond has been plagued by waves of violence, often driven by social forces beyond the ability of local government to control or, sometimes, even to mitigate.

But the city has to do something. It can’t be a regional powerhouse if it can’t fix its core. And Richmond’s political leaders can’t fix Mosby, or other pockets of violence, fear, and dysfunction, by themselves. The whole city needs to pitch in. Perhaps now is the time for Stoney to convene a summit of business, nonprofit, church, and community leaders to develop a Marshall plan for Mosby Court. If he’d like, we’ll make our downtown meeting space available. Because something has to be done.

As the mayor said himself: Enough is enough.

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