I remember Cody Woodson as a good kid. He played on the same high school soccer team as one of my sons, and the two were friends in high school, though Cody didn’t have a lot of free time. When he wasn’t involved in his school work or athletics he was generally working at a convenience store in our rural county, but he’d still come over to our house every now and then to pick up my son to go play basketball or hang out and play video games. I didn’t know Cody well, but I liked him. He was smart, polite, and clearly had a good head on his shoulders.
Cody Woodson was murdered in Richmond, Virginia this week, shot dead by an unknown assailant, apparently while he was taking out the trash on Monday evening. In fact, Woodson was one of two people killed within 24 hours in the same block. A 17-year old was shot and killed on Sunday evening, in what police believe may have been a drug transaction that turned into a violent robbery and shooting.
Residents of the block were stunned and feared for their safety on Tuesday as they described the violent scenes: A teenager shot and lying on a second-floor balcony on Sunday evening, his arm dangling over the side. Another man down on the sidewalk the next night.
On Tuesday, what appeared to be bloodstains could be seen on the sidewalk just below a bullet hole in the front of a house. Two more bullets had pierced the back of a car parked nearby.
“I don’t feel super safe,” said Paula, who lives on the block and asked that her last name not be published given her safety concerns. “I’m confused with all the differing information that I’m getting.”
“I think I’ll feel pretty uneasy until I get confirmation that this was isolated and targeted, instead of random,” she said. She said she was in bed Monday evening when she heard six to 10 gunshots and looked out to see a body on the sidewalk.
So far police haven’t released any official motivation about Woodson’s murder, but say that he was shot and killed “near where he lived.”
A 23-year-old VCU student who lives in the block where the killings happened shared his witness accounts of the aftermath of both shootings in an interview on Tuesday. He declined to provide his name for publication out of fear for his safety.
On Sunday, he heard about six gunshots and came outside, he said. A body was lying on the balcony of his neighbor’s second-floor unit.
On Monday night, the student said he was inside his home playing a video game, “Call of Duty: War Zone,” when he heard noise outside. He thought it was someone hammering at first. He grabbed his gun for protection and looked outside.
“I saw a body laying right there,” he said of the nearby sidewalk.
Cody Woodson’s girlfriend, Clarisse Liclic, told local media that he was taking out the trash and walking to a corner store when he was shot and killed.
Liclic said around 8 on Monday night, Woodson was taking his trash out and met Liclic at her car parked outside of his house on West Marshall Street.
She didn’t know it would be the last time they’d kiss goodbye. “He called out to me and said some flirty joke and I got into my car and left,” Liclic said.
Liclic said she “can only assume” Woodson then walked down Gilmer street, like he always did, to the Clay Express Mart corner store for his favorite tea.
Minutes later, police say he was approached and shot dead.
Woodson’s girlfriend of more than two years said she thinks he was a random victim. “I truly believe he just happened to be on that street at the worst time,” she told 8News. “I would do anything to change the circumstances,” she said.
Richmond, Virginia’s violent crime rate has exploded in recent months, with a homicide rate of 29.5 per 100,000 in 2020, which is about six times higher than the national homicide rate in 2019. Democrats in Virginia have passed a number of new gun control laws that have done absolutely nothing to crack down on violent criminals or stem the rising violence. Instead, they’ve taken a soft-on-crime approach, even as the Democrat-controlled Pardon and Parole Board has been rocked by a scandal involving allegations that the board improperly released inmates before they had served their sentences.
At the same time, Democrats have repeatedly rejected attempts by Republicans to pass legislation that would empower cities like Richmond to focus on the most violent offenders with programs like Project Ceasefire that have a proven track record in reducing shootings and homicides. It’s likely that seem same Democrats are going to try to use Cody Woodson’s murder as an excuse to call for new restrictions on legal gun owners while they continue to make excuses and ignore the individuals who are actually committing these heinous crimes.