Police: 2 children alone for 24 hours with bodies of murdered family members

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Detectives with the Richmond Police Department say two children spent 24 hours alone inside an apartment where three people were murdered last week.

Last Thursday morning, officers were called to Oliver Crossing Apartments and found three people — 23-year-old Walter Gaines III, 24-year-old Shaquenda Walker and 55-year-old Deborah Walker — dead inside a unit located at at 1329 Coalter Street.

Police also found S. Walker’s two children — a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy — who were unharmed.

Police say Gaines, who had an extensive criminal record, shot and killed S. Walker and her mother before turning the gun on himself. Family members told 8News Gaines and S. Walker had been involved.

Courtesy of Henrico County Sheriff's Office
Courtesy of Henrico County Sheriff’s Office

Gaines had previously pled guilty to robbery and felony accessory after the fact charges and had several firearm charges nolle prosequied.

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Police sources said that Gaines was expected for a court appearance in Henrico County last Thursday, Feb. 16. The bodies were discovered by family members who had intended to drive him to court.

It has not yet been determined what Gaines was due in court for.

8News spoke with Erica Crumble, the cousin of one of the victims who said that the children who were found at the scene may have been there for a while prior to the police arriving. Crumble told 8News that the children had knocked on neighbors doors inside the apartment building early Thursday saying that their mom and grandma weren’t waking up.

Police have not yet determined a time of the death for the three deceased parties.

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Erica Crumble, the cousin of one of the victims

Investigators are not looking for any suspects at this time and the investigation remains ongoing.

Police Chief Alfred Durham and Mayor Levar Stoney also went to the scene. Stoney expressed his sympathy for the children involved while emphasizing that the incident, while senseless, was not a random act.

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“This seems to be once again a senseless act, but something that’s not random. It seems very isolated, like some of the acts that happened in the past,” Stoney said. “Please continue to help the chief, if you know something, say something.”

This is the third day that we’re investigating deaths in the city,” Chief Durham added. “At some point, folks have to be tired of this. At some point, those folks creating crime have to stop and say, ‘Hey, when are we going to stop being stupid?'”

“At some point, folks have to be tired of this. At some point, those folks creating crime have to stop and say, ‘hey, when are we going to stop being stupid?'”

Police asked that anyone who knows anything about what may have happened to please step forward.

If you have any information about this or any other crimes taking place in the Richmond area contact Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or at http://www.7801000.com. Submit tips to GUN250 about persons illegally possessing guns by texting Crime Stoppers at 274637, then using keyword “GUN250” followed by your tip. Rewards up to $250. Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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