An unfortunate incident during a heated exchange resulted in the death of Katrina Banks. In November 2017, Katrina and her husband were having an argument at their tri-level Richmond, Virginia home. According to reports, Alvin E. Banks, 47, told police that he grabbed his firearm, made his way to the foyer of his home, and began firing off shots.
Katrina Banks was at the bottom level when she was shot and killed. Out of the five shots that Alvin fired that evening, one bullet made its way through a plastic, accordion-style door and into a bedroom downstairs where Katrina and their two-year-old daughter just happened to be. The toddler was sleeping at the time, but the bullet hit Katrina in her lung and spine. Alvin apparently shot three shots into the air and two at a lower level. He told investigators that he’s fired the shots during an argument as a, “‘Get away, stop’ thing,” he said.
According to True Crime Daily, Alvin had just returned home from a trip out of town when Katrina confronted him about a few phone calls he’d made. Katrina had found out that he contacted her cousin, Roxanne, and wanted to know if there was something else going on. Roxanne had recently accompanied them on a trip, and Alvin told his wife that Roxanne wanted to know if he’d found her earrings.
“She said ‘No, you called her seven times.’ I’m like ‘Trina,’ I said ‘I was driving back, we lost connection, she called me back, I called her back.’ And she kept pushing, and I was like ‘Leave it alone, there’s nothing going on,'” Alvin reportedly told police. “I picked up a TV tray, I threw it downstairs, making sure I didn’t hit her — Bam! I was like ‘Stop, you’re pissing me off’… “So I figured if I grabbed my .45 and shot a couple of rounds off in the air, then that would make her shut the [—-] up.”
Alvin claimed he immediately ran to a nearby firehouse for help after realizing Katrina had been hit. While he insisted that the ordeal was an unfortunate accident, investigators disagreed. He was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder, but a jury found him not guilty. During his trial, prosecutors alleged that Alvin’s motive for killing his wife was because he wanted to collect on insurance money. During a jailhouse phone call, he reportedly spoke to someone about life insurance, but his defense attorneys insisted that the inquiry from their client had nothing to do with the case.
“She was our backbone of our family,” said Katrina’s sister Diane Cromwell-Johnson. “She always made sure we had the right education, we paid our bills, we was all in order. She just made us come together even if we lived far away. Any kind of special occasion, family reunions, birthdays.” She added, “When I saw [Alvin and Katrina] together I can say they looked like they were loving. I would have never have guessed anything different.”
Alvin was presented as being a good father to his five children—two with Katrina and three others that are adults—and in the end, jurors didn’t believe that he intentionally set out to murder his wife. However, Alvin was convicted on counts of “child abuse and neglect in connection with a shooting” because the couple’s two and seven-year-old children were at the home when Alvin began carelessly firing his gun. He was also found guilty of unlawfully firing a weapon and was sentenced to 16 months in jail. He was credited with time served and released.
Please share this story about Katrina Banks to help highlight the effects of both domestic violence and gun violence. I send my deepest condolences to her loved ones. She is our sister and her life matters.