Richmond police and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office are forming a joint gang task force in an effort to address a recent spate of violence in Richmond and unincorporated North Richmond. So far this month, there have been eight homicides in Richmond, five of which are believed to be gang-related, Richmond police Lt. Bisa French said today. The city has already had 20 homicides this year, compared to 21 in all of 2010. On July 3, there was also a shooting in unincorporated North Richmond in which one person was killed and another was injured. French said that shooting is believed to have sparked several of the recent shootings in Richmond.
Investigators from the two departments have been sharing information, but the new gang task force will foster further collaboration, she said. It will also mean that sheriff’s deputies will be patrolling Richmond streets and Richmond police officers will be patrolling unincorporated North Richmond, French said. By working together, the two departments will be able to heighten their presence and better target suspected gang members, French said. Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus and representatives from the sheriff’s office will release more information about the new task force at a news conference this afternoon.
The news conference will be held at 2 p.m. at Fifth Street and Nevin Avenue, the site of Richmond’s most recent homicide, which happened at about 11:40 a.m. Wednesday. The victim, identified by the Contra Costa County coroner’s office as 20-year-old Richmond resident Daryl Russell, Jr., was gunned down on the street across from a community center where children were playing, French said. Police believe the shooting was gang-related, but have not identified any suspects.
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