Katharine DeRosa, News Editor
VCU student Cody Woodson drove seven-hour round trips from his hometown of Buckingham, Virginia, to see his girlfriend Clarisse Liclic during school breaks, Liclic said in a Facebook message.
“It was wonderful to know I had been loved by him that much,” Liclic said.
Monday night, after walking Liclic to her car, Woodson was shot and killed at the 400 block of Gilmer Street — the second death to take place there in two days.
The Richmond Police Department is investigating a possible connection between the deaths of Woodson, 20, and a 17-year-old, who were shot and killed in the 400 block of Gilmer Street within 26 hours of each other.
Liclic and Woodson began dating in January 2019, Liclic said. She attends the University of Richmond, so the two were only 20 minutes apart while school was in session.
On the day Woodson was killed, him and Liclic had spent the day together and said goodbye around 8 p.m. After walking Liclic to her car, he took out the trash from his apartment, Liclic said.
“I didn’t hear from him the rest of the night but I knew he was tired ’cause we had been driving all day yesterday [Monday] so I assumed he fell asleep,” Liclic said.
When she hadn’t heard from Woodson on Tuesday morning, Liclic checked for his location on her phone and saw it pinging at the Richmond Police Station. When Liclic arrived, she was told to wait. Then, detectives informed her of Woodson’s death.
One of Liclic’s favorite memories of Woodson is when the two adopted a cat together, she said. Woodson woke her up in the middle of the night to ask which picture of a cat she preferred. In the morning, Woodson told her they were driving to adopt a black cat, which they named Miso.
“He’s impulsive like that,” Liclic said.
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith held a press conference Tuesday afternoon with VCU Assistant Police Chief Nicole Dailey to provide information about the two Gilmer Street shootings.
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. The name of the 17-year-old victim is being withheld for privacy reasons.
Police said Woodson was approached on Gilmer Street and fatally shot.
“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 during the press conference.
Richmond police are investigating a “possible drug nexus” in the Gilmer Street area and a correlation between the two shooting deaths, according to a department release. Smith said no motive for either homicide has been found.
“We cannot eliminate any possibility at this time,” Smith said.
Smith said he believes marijuana is connected to the first shooting death but could not provide details due to ongoing investigation. He encouraged anyone with video surveillance of the Carver neighborhood or information about either case to contact Richmond police.
“We really do need the community’s help,” Smith said.
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 incidents.
The suspect in Monday’s shooting was last seen running down an alley between West Marshall and West 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,” the alert stated. “There are certain things you need to be aware of when living in an urban environment.”
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.
The university sent an alert at 8:18 p.m. 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. A 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 Tuesday evening.
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 Richmond police leading the investigation.
“We want to keep the neighborhood as safe as it’s been,” Smith said.
Nicholas Parisi, a friend of Woodson’s, organized a GoFundMe page in Woodson’s honor to help his family with postmortem costs.
“I have never felt such a visceral pain in my heart, but there are people whom Cody loved that are hurting worse then I am, and it is our turn to help,” Parisi stated in the fundraiser post.
Parisi and Woodson met while playing League of Legends, and the two eventually met in person the post stated. Parisi described Woodson as “always there with a smile and a laugh to get you through your lowest moments.”
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.
Some written quotes in this story were edited for grammar.