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Forest Hill Presbyterian Church Pastor Rev. Aaron Houghton Releases Statement on Allegations

“It is our desire to shine the full light of truth on this situation so that the full weight of justice may be brought to bear upon Pierce’s disgusting actions.” Rev. Aaron Houghton, Pastor, Forest Hill Presbyterian Church

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Posted on the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church

To all the grieving, mourning hearts,

There is no more sacred trust than that which a parent gives to those who care for their children.

That is the sacred trust which has been tarnished by the heinous and atrocious actions of Martiko Pierce.

It is our desire to shine the full light of truth on this situation so that the full weight of justice may be brought to bear upon Pierce’s disgusting actions.

When the allegations were initially brought to the attention of the Child Care Committee and the Child Care Center leadership they were shocked and enraged. Pierce’s employment was immediately terminated and he was escorted from the premises by police. The Child Care Center Committee took the investigation seriously, knowing that their full participation with the detective in charge of this case was paramount to her pursuit of truth and that truth was integral to the ultimate enactment of justice. While the investigation was ongoing, Detective Mills asked the Child Care leadership and committee not to share details of the case with the public for the sake of the integrity of her investigation.

Please know your children’s safety and privacy have been the utmost concern of the leadership of the Child Care Center. The detective continually informed the Child Care leadership and committee that if she had reason to suspect a child may have been implicated in this case, she would contact their parents or guardians directly. This was an integral part of the investigation, but from the perspective of those families, not being contacted felt like radio silence, not like relief, not like respect, not like reassurance.

Now that charges have been filed, an arrest has been made, and the details of the investigation have been released to the press, the information that Child Care leadership is able to share feels like too little, too late. The investigation is still underway to see if there are more charges that need to be brought against Pierce. It remains the commitment of the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church Child Care Center to reveal the full truth so that justice may fully be enacted.

For many years and many families, the Child Care Center has been a vital extension of the ministry of Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, a mission of love established by former members whose children and grandchildren still worship in our pews. Pierce’s deplorable actions are not representative of this long standing ministry. It is appalling that his behavior, his choice, and his evil deed has become wrapped in the name of this congregation that has served this community with compassion and love for so long.

Please keep those directly affected in your prayers, and hold in the light of love all the families of the Child Care Center, its leadership, and the members of the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church congregation.

The sacred trust tarnished by Martiko Pierce may never be restored. But I do trust that there is healing for all of us, that we shall find the best way forward by doing the difficult work of attuning our hearts and minds to the will of God whose love insists upon justice, but also on the restoration of that which has been devastated by sin.

May God find us where we are, how we are, and guide us to what is good and healing.

Thank you, and may love lead your way to peace.
Rev. Aaron Houghton,
Pastor, Forest Hill Presbyterian Church

Summary of allegations that we know so far.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Enjoy Lunch Discussing Sharks and Dinosaurs at the Science Museum of Virginia

The Science Museum of Virginia’s free, noon-time Lunch Break Science series features two speakers focusing on shark-related topics and one speaker highlighting dinosaur skin this month.

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The Science Museum of Virginia’s free, noon-time Lunch Break Science series features two speakers focusing on shark-related topics and one speaker highlighting dinosaur skin this month. The Science Museum hosts a different speaker each Wednesday for a one-hour talk on a science, technology, engineering or math topic.

Why:
The Science Museum is celebrating all things sharks and skin this summer as they’re hosting the touring exhibitions “Planet Shark: Predator or Prey” and “Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity.” Lunch Break Sciences are one of the many extra program offerings the Science Museum is featuring to encourage guests to learn more about fascinating scientific elements of animals and humans.

When:
Guests can attend the following Lunch Break Science presentations:

Who:
Guests of all ages are welcome at Lunch Break Sciences, but the content is geared to an adult audience.

Shiffman and Houppermans will be presenting in person. Shiffman will also host a book signing of his latest book, “Why Sharks Matter: A Deep Dive with the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator,” after his July 6 talk. On July 13, Hendrickx will present via Zoom from Argentina.

How:
Lunch Break Sciences are free. Guests do not need to purchase Science Museum admission to attend, but do need to check in at Guest Services when they arrive.

Lunch Break Science events take place in the Science Museum’s Barbara Thalhimer Theater. Seating is first-come, first-served. The theater seats 125 guests.

As the name suggests, guests are welcome to bring food and drink to enjoy during Lunch Break Science. For guests who would like to purchase food onsite, the Science Museum has vending machines near the Rotunda and grab-and-go items in the café.

Where:
Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220

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Cowardin Avenue & Bainbridge Street Hit and Run

The victim was attempting to cross the road and was struck by what eyewitnesses describe to be a dark color, purple/blue, older model sedan with distinctive wheel rims.

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From RPD

Saturday, July 2, at approximately 10:35 p.m., the Richmond Police Crash Team investigators responded to the intersection of Cowardin Avenue & Bainbridge Street for the report of a hit and run.

Investigators arrived and found an adult female pedestrian down and in the roadway. She was attempting to cross the road and was struck by what eyewitnesses describe to be a dark color, purple/blue, older model sedan with distinctive wheel rims. Investigators suspect the vehicle has frontend damage and was last seen headed north on Cowardin Avenue.

She was transported to a local hospital with life threatening injuries.

Anyone with further information about this incident is asked to contact RPD Crash Team Investigator W. Kress at 804-646-0280 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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Shootings on July 3rd and Early July 4th Result in a Death and Six Injuries

Two separate unrelated incidents occurred. One at City Dogs in the Fan and another near Cyber Café on Broad Street.

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West Main Street Death Investigation

Sunday, July 3, at approximately 10:26 p.m., officers were called to the 1300 block of West Main Street for the report of random gunfire. RPD officers responded and located an adult male with an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death.

Anyone with information about this death investigation is asked to contact

Major Crimes Detective A. Coates at (804)-646-0729 or Crime Stoppers at

(804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.

This RVA/Reddit thread has some unconfirmed details and first-hand reports on the City Dogs shooting.

Update July 5th:

Arrest Made, Victim Identified in West Main Street Homicide and Aggravated Assaults

The Richmond Police Department has charged the suspect in yesterday’s shootings on West Main Street. Derrick Adjei, 24, of Alexandria, Virginia, was taken into custody by Virginia State Police last night at approximately 11:01 p.m. after the vehicle Adjei had been operating was involved in a single vehicle collision on northbound I-95.

RPD detectives, investigating the West Main Street shooting, have charged Adjei with malicious wounding. Other charges are pending. A booking photo of Adjei is not yet available.

Detectives have identified the victim of the shooting as Kyle Stoner, 36, of Richmond. Sunday at approximately 10:28 p.m., officers were called to the 1300 block of West Main Street for the report of a shooting. RPD officers responded and located an adult male, Stoner, on a patio of a business, down and unresponsive suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death.

An adult female and an adult male were also injured during the incident and have received treatment for injuries that were not considered life threatening.

Anyone with further information about this incident is asked to contact Major Crimes Detective A. Coates at (804)-646-0729 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.

West Broad Street Shooting

At approximately 3:39 a.m., Richmond Police officers responded to the report of random gunfire in the 00 block of West Broad Street. Six people were reported shot near the Cyber Café, an after-hours club including four adult males and two adult females.

Of the six who sustained gunshot wounds, two are considered life-threatening and four non-life threatening. One man was transported by ambulance, others were self-transported to the hospital for treatment.

There is no public threat at this time.

Anyone with information about this shooting investigation is asked to call Detective Reyes at (804) 646-3874 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.

 

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