Danville Police Chief Philip Broadfoot

Danville Police Chief Philip Broadfoot reads a statement and takes questions from the media during a news conference Saturday after two homicides occurred in Danville on Thursday and Friday. 

Danville Police Chief Philip Broadfoot linked two homicides this week to a pattern of young men involved with drug and gang activity and said local police will increase their presence on the streets after recent shootings.

“We cannot let our young people continue on this path of self-destruction,” Broadfoot said during a news conference Saturday morning. “The well-being and peace of mind of the citizens of Danville demands that extraordinary measures be taken to deal with extraordinary circumstances.”

Jacquel Tashan Stamps, 21, was found dead Friday night after gunfire erupted at a party on Kemper Road. Sean Antwan Clayborne, 15, of Danville, was found dead in an area behind the former Highlander’s Restaurant, Lodge and Pub on Thursday evening.

Friday night’s killing brings the total number of homicides to 14 in 2016. Broadfoot noted that all of the slayings involved firearms.

“This number of homicide has never been reached before since the Danville Police Department began keeping records in 1953,” he said.

Broadfoot said he could not share more details on suspects or the shootings, but added the department was working tirelessly to gather evidence and interview witnesses. He said the homicides did not appear to be related.

The police chief said many of the homicides in 2016 shared several common elements: all involved guns and many revolved around young men engaged with criminal activity.

“Many of them have been repeatedly involved in the juvenile justice system with no sign of improvement in their behavior,” Broadfoot said.

Additionally, he said many of the suspects were not legally allowed to carry firearms, either because they were underage or due to previous convictions.

Broadfoot again said most law-abiding residents didn’t need to worry about becoming victims — the shootings were concentrated to those involved with drugs and other criminal activity.

Danville police immediately plan to increase the number of officers on the streets by adjusting schedules, reassignments and working overtime. Additionally, Broadfoot said police will ask for support from both Virginia State Police and the Pittsylvania County Sherriff’s Office.

Broadfoot also said police were working with the City Council and the city manager to look into long-term solutions to the problem.

Trevor Metcalfe reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at tmetcalfe@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7983.

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