The people of Woodland Heights need a few more answers
There is one small aspect to the Harvey murders that I didn’t really want to get into for fear of seeming overly critical of Richmond police. I do feel that they have done an extraordinary job this past week and am particularly impressed with the leadership and professionalism of Chief Rodney Monroe. However, given the concerns voiced in the Times-Dispatch this morning by Woodland Heights residents, I no longer feel that it would be nitpicking to ask some hard questions about why the police assured neighbors there was no need to worry about random attacks. Todd Ranson, identified in Michael Martz’s story as a Harvey family friend who lives in the area, said that Richmond police assured friends and neighbors that the killers were most likely known to the Harveys and not motivated by robbery. Ranson is quoted as saying: “It was not the neighborhood that was driving that. We were taking our cues from the police.” He said that a detective told him: “You have nothing to worry about. This is not a crime of opportunity. This is a crime of passion.”
We need to hear from the Richmond Police why this communication happened. Was it a detective or officer so desperate to give these people some peace that he reached too far for a conclusion that was not officially drawn? Understandable. But still, we need an answer. Did the police focus their investigation too narrowly at first and assume it was a crime of passion? We need to know that too. There is no doubt that Richmond Police never officially acknowledged a theory or suspect until the two suspects were caught. It may have been even a little frustrating for the rest of us to read a quote from an official saying there were 197,000 suspects, referring to the entire population of Richmond. The police took the right official tack, but may have misstepped on the front porches of Woodland Heights. Was it due to misinformation or miscommunication from high in the ranks or poor judgment or overzealousness of individual officers and detectives? Richmond Police should tidy up what so far seem like the only loose ends dangling from a tight and well-done investigation.