There has been a lot of tension in Richmond recently. Everybody can feel it, everybody knows why. This city has a mess of critical issues to deal with right now: how the police apply lethal force, rapidly accelerating rents and housing costs, and public schools that lack essentials like toilet paper and soap. From a certain perspective, things could and should be a lot better.
Yet in times like these, we look for those things which help ease the feelings of discouragement that come from a city system that never quite seems to work for the everyday person. Last night was just such a thing. Thank you, RVA Tank.
At around 750pm, a National Guardsman out of Fort Pickett, near Blackstone, Virginia, stole an armored personnel carrier (APC) and led police on a merry chase that eventually ended on Broad Street in Downtown Richmond. The vehicle appeared to be a M113 fully tracked armored vehicle, which was first deployed with mechanized infantry units during the Vietnam War. According to Stars and Stripes, the military’s newspaper, the police began to pursue the APC as soon as it left the base, clocking it at a top speed of 40 mph as it made its way down routes 460 and 95.
By 930pm, the APC could be seen driving down Broad Street in the Fan with the police in pursuit. One trending video by Parker Slaybaugh shows the vehicle powering past the intersection of Meadow and Broad.
RVA Mag arrived on the scene by 1030 pm to speak with the State Police, who had an area around the APC cordoned off from the Children’s Hospital to the Library of Virginia. “He did stop on his own accord and got out of the vehicle and got on the ground,” said a spokeswoman for the State Police. “He failed to comply with numerous orders from the trooper and at that point, he was tased. It was repeated commands and he failed to do so.”
Shortly thereafter, men in military uniforms could also be spotted on the scene with the State Police. Asked if he was an active duty service member, the spokeswoman confirmed for RVA Mag that he was indeed National Guard.
Nonetheless, while the facts were unfolding on the street, Richmond had already taken to Twitter in a bout of epic tweeting, setting the context for what will surely be the cocktail chatter of choice for many weeks to come. Below are some of the best tweets of the evening:
Tankman Fan Account did not disappoint, expressing the sentiment everyone in the city was feeling at the time; a true statement that captured the selflessness of RVA Tank and what he meant to the River City.
Yes, Moody. We are all of those things (and more).
RVA Coffee Stain is right. #NeverForgetRVATank
We heart RVA Dirt.
The truth, finally.
It was only a matter of time (and a stolen APC).
Of course, it is (was, for like five minutes).
Like, what half the people in Richmond were thinking (hoping for).
Things that did not happen in neighboring West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, or Kentucky last night.
Life goals, city goals. How do we move on from here?
We’ve all seen (and lived) this movie now.
Last night regrets.
Who is playing this weekend?
You certainly did, condolences.
Photos by Landon Shroder