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Murder house (1989)

Black and white photograph of a boarded-up two-story frame house at 2224 E. Jefferson Avenue in Church Hill; the city evicted the residents after a recent murder was committed there. The house is in violation of many building codes, and is a source of criminal activity, police say; image shows the home with debris piled in the front yard and a sagging front porch.

Michael A. Carr, 29, was shot and killed after an altercation at 2224 Jefferson Avenue at 5:40PM on January 25, 1989. Carr’s death was the city’s 9 homicide of the new year. There would be 2 more before January was over, and the final tally for the year would be 102.

Shortly before or after Carr’s shooting, Henry Michael Ward, 26, of the 500 block of North 28th Street was found shot in the head and lying in a pool of blood in a back bedroom a house at 2224 Jefferson Jefferson Avenue; he survived.

The revolver used in the shooting had previously been taken from the glove compartment of Patrolman Lynell Jefferson’s car in the 1400 block North 30th Street. The gun was recovered when Lennae Samuel Owens, 24, of the 1000 block Hickory Street was arrested at 22nd and M streets about an hour after the shootings.

At the time, the Times-Dispatch reported that the police had linked 2224 Jefferson Avenue to eight incidents of criminal activity since April 1984, and that the structure had also been cited for at least 35 housing code violations. The house was owned at the time by Dr. Adams, a local dentist, who said he “was not directly involved in the management of the building and said he was unaware of the incidents of criminal activity there”.

From a January 26, 1989, Times-Dispatch article on the shootings:

Both Church Hill shootings were within two blocks of Po Joe’s Pool Parlor, where one man was killed and several others seriously wounded in a shooting on Oct. 10. A man with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol opened fire through a window.

[…]

Mildred Jones, who lives in the house at 2224 Jefferson, said she was waiting outside on the porch when the shooting occurred. She said the gunman “comes here. He calls me his grandma.”

At the time of the shooting, “I was waiting for a ride to a bingo game” in a chair on the front porch, Mrs. Jones said. “(The gunman) walked by me and spoke, and went inside the house.”

The man was inside the house for only a few minutes before he walked out, across the porch and up the street, Mrs. Jones said. Moments later, someone inside the house “told me to call an ambulance because (the gunman) shot Michael.”

Mrs. Jones said she didn’t hear any shots and didn’t notice whether the man had a gun. The suspect and the victim knew each other, she added.

“He comes here (almost) every day,” Mrs. Jones said. The suspect and the victim used to watch wrestling programs on television together; the victim was watching wrestling when he was shot, she said.

“We’ve never had no problems like this,” Mrs. Jones said. “I can’t understand nothing like this.”

The house sold in May of 1989 for $14,300. It has in recent years been renovated and expanded, and is assessed at $295,000.

The photos above are from the Valentine Richmond History Center Collections Database. The are credited to Jay Paul and Don Pennell, respectively, of Richmond Newspapers, Inc.

12 comments

just a neighbor 08/05/2012 at 8:55 AM

Do you have a recent picture of this house? Interesting stuff!

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Human Criminal Badger 08/05/2012 at 8:59 AM

Further proof that code violations don’t matter until someone gets shot or the roof collapses. Here’s to a proactive city code enforcement team.

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just a neighbor 08/05/2012 at 9:00 AM

Thanks. I didn’t even think of that. That is a pretty high assessment for this side of Broad. I wanted to get a look! 🙂

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just a neighbor 08/05/2012 at 9:02 AM

Oh! I know this house now. The couple moved from a couple of house down and own the restaurant where Jumpin J’s used to be. Super sweet people when we’ve walked by. Right?

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Alex 08/05/2012 at 9:18 AM

I sure hope the current owners were aware of this story or at least aren’t superstitious…

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Unionhillian 08/05/2012 at 9:54 AM

This is one of those crazy examples of all the history (good & bad) that’s soaked into the wood of the homes in our neighborhood. We live very nearby, and this tale vividly illustrates how much it has changed. Our home is now 102+ yrs old, and (among other things) was formerly a “boarding house”. I love this place; my neighbors (family), the history and the future that it’s clearly bounding towards.
***Prefer to “keep it a secret” though. Once all those suburbanite hater’s find out how great it is, they’ll be my “enemy at the gates”.***

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John M 08/05/2012 at 10:02 AM

My big question is where was Po Joe’s Pool Parlor?

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Cadeho 08/05/2012 at 1:32 PM

http://eservices.ci.richmond.va.us/applications/PropertySearch/Detail.aspx?pin=E0000256007 Nice renovation. More pics available there. I couldn’t live in a stigmatized property.

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Mars 08/06/2012 at 7:44 PM

Creepy. Not sure I could sleep there.

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Ciara Carr 06/06/2018 at 6:22 PM

Am sorry to bother you but would you have any further information on micheal Carr’s shooting as I had an uncle who was killed in America in 1989. His name was Micheal Carr and from Ireland . I was never told much about it as my family tries to forget about it . Please text back asap thanks

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Felicia 11/17/2018 at 1:08 PM

I remember that day as if was yesterday. Michael Carr was the love of my life back then. He was loved by many and hated by even more. To me he was a blessing. The side of him i know was different from what others new of him.The stories of this old house goes on forever. There was alot of love shared behind that broken down porch and boarded windows alot of love

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