UPDATE: Richmond police investigating possible link between Gilmer Street shooting deaths of VCU student, teen

A street sign marks the intersection of Gilmer and East Marshall streets near VCU's Monroe Park campus. Photo by Liza Hazelwood

Katharine DeRosa, News Editor

The Richmond Police Department is investigating a possible connection between the deaths of  a 17-year-old and a VCU student who were shot and killed in the 400 block of Gilmer Street within 26 hours of each other.

The person shot on Monday has been identified by Richmond Police as Cody Woodson, a 20-year-old student from Buckingham, Virginia, VCU provost Gail Hackett stated in a release. 

Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith held a press conference Tuesday afternoon with VCU Assistant Police Chief Nicole Daily.

These incidents coming on the heels of each other has caused us some concern and that’s why we’ve called you here today,” Smith said.

RPD sent a release Tuesday morning which said they are looking for a “possible drug nexus” and correlation between the two incidents. 

Police said Woodson was approached on Gilmer Street and fatally shot. Police have found no motive yet. 

Smith said he believes marijuana is connected to the first incident, and cannot go into specifics at this time since the investigation is ongoing. He is encouraging anyone with video surveillance of the Carver neighborhood or information about either case to contact RPD.

We really do need the community’s help,” Smith said.

The first shooting took place on Sunday at 6:20 p.m. and the second took place Monday evening at 8:13 p.m., according to police. Gilmer Street is located six blocks from the center of Monroe Park. A medical examiner is currently investigating the cause of death, according to the RPD. The name of the 17-year-old victim is being withheld for privacy reasons.

VCU sent alerts regarding both shootings. The 400 block of Gilmer Street is located one block north of Broad Street, near several VCU buildings. Broad and Belvidere, a student residence hall, is located about 600 feet from the site of the incident.

The suspect in Monday’s shooting was last seen running down an alley between Marshall and Clay streets, where police continue to investigate, according to a VCU release. 

“The VCU Police would like to remind students, in particular, to keep personal safety in mind. There are certain things you need to be aware of when living in an urban environment,” the alert stated.

The notice reminded students, faculty and staff of safety recommendations for living in Richmond. Suspicious behavior can be reported to VCU Police through the yellow Emergency Reporting Telephones around campus.

VCU sent an alert at 8:18 p.m. on Monday calling for students to avoid the 400 block of Gilmer Street for the second night in a row. A second alert nearly an hour later stated the situation was “resolved.” 

VCU’s alert on Sunday was sent around 6:30 p.m., followed by a second notice at 6:57 p.m. The suspect for this shooting was taken into custody, and VCU stated there was no ongoing threat to the community. 

No one has been charged with any crime as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.

VCU Police tweeted it will increase officer presence in the Carver neighborhood, where Gilmer Street is located. Spokesperson Leila Ugincius was unable to comment further due to RPD leading the investigation.

“We want to keep the neighborhood as safe as it’s been,” Smith said.

Anyone with information on Monday’s shooting is encouraged to contact Major Crimes Detective J. Higgins at 804-814-7570 and anyone with information on Sunday’s shooting is encouraged to contact Major Crimes Detective A. Sleem at 804-814-7123.

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