Children may have spent days in Richmond home with dead parents

Erica Crumble

Erica Crumble

RICHMOND, Va. — Three adult bodies were found in a Richmond apartment Thursday morning after two children emerged from the home looking for help.

Police have identified the three people who died as Shaquenda Walker, 24, Deborah Walker, 55, and Walter Gaines, III, 23. Shaquenda Walker was the daughter of Deborah Walker.

While their investigation is in its early stages, police say a preliminary analysis of the crime scene indicates the two women were shot by Gaines before he shot himself.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham confirmed detectives were not looking for any suspects in the shooting.

What was not yet known, was exactly when the adults died and how long the children had been with their bodies.

One reason why that information is not fully known, family members said, was because no one called 911 after hearing gunshots. Police were not called until the children, both under the age of five, asked for help Thursday morning, family members said.

“Neighbors said they heard shots, but when you hear shots in a home, in a building, I feel like you’re supposed to call 911,” Erica Crumble, a cousin to the children’s late mother, said. “We don’t know if they’ve been in there one day, two days, three days, we don’t know!”

On Thursday morning, the children knocked a neighbor’s door and said their mother and grandmother would not wake up, family members said.

CBS 6 reported that is when the 911 call was made and the bodies were discovered.

“I feel bad for her children. I feel sorry for them,” Crumble said. “For them to have to witness that and for them to have to go through that.”

“It has to have an affect on the children,” Richmond Police Department faith leader and St. Paul’s Baptist Church pastor Rev. Sharon Broaddus said.

Crumble said her cousin’s boyfriend had threatened her cousin in the past.

“If they tell you they’re going to do something to you, you just have to believe it,” Crumble said. “Leave him alone. They’re going to do what they say they’re going to do.”

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham called on the community to stop the violence.

“At some point, folks have to be tired of this. At some point those folks who are out here creating this crime have to say, ‘when are we going to stop being stupid,'” Chief Durham said. “This has to stop. This is not the City of Richmond. We experienced this 20 years ago and we don’t want to go back to where we were then.”

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also showed up to the crime scene.

“It’s a tough day. You never want to have to come out to a scene of anything of this sort,” Mayor Stoney said. “My heart goes out to the children who were on the scene and I hope that they are in the best care after something like this has happened.”

Family members and Rev. Broaddus said the children are being cared for by other relatives.

The Medical Examiner will determine the approximate time, cause and manner of the victim’s deaths.