For the second weekend in a row, a series of shots rang out early Sunday morning on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, this time leaving one person dead and two hospitalized at the University of Virginia Medical Center, according to Charlottesville Police officials and social media accounts.
Police say the incident occurred around 1 a.m. and in the 200 block of West Main Street. They arrived to find three people shot. Police did not release identities or genders, but social media accounts agree that one man and two women were struck and that the man later died.
Police appear to believe that those shot and their assailants likely knew each other.
“We would like the public to know that this incident poses no immediate threat to our community,” officials said in a terse and short press release on Sunday. “This is currently an ongoing investigation.”
Police asked anyone with information to contact Det. Sgt. Stayments at (434) 970-3939, or CrimeStoppers at (434) 977-4000.
Last Saturday afternoon, two teenagers were shot near the Charlottesville Omni Hotel. Three teens were arrested on Thursday in relation to the shooting that has left one boy still in the hospital.
They are being charged in juvenile court and are between the ages of 14 and 17, according to the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania. Because of their ages, their names will be not be released and their trials will not be open to the public.
They teens are all in custody at the Blue Ridge Detention Center and face felony charges, according to Platania.
Sunday morning’s shooting occurred less than three blocks away from last week’s as Saturday revelry on the Downtown Mall was wrapping up. Video footage uploaded to social media by a downtown merchant an estimated 100 yards from the shooting showed several people walking down the mall when a series of shots ring out.
First, a volley of two shots ring out and people pause for a minute. Then a second volley of three shots follow and people begin running away from the gunfire. That volley is then followed by about eight shots in quick succession as people can be heard screaming at others to “run.”
Eze Amos, a Charlottesville-based documentary photographer and photojournalist, took photographs of police, fire paramedics and rescue personnel treating the wounded on site and posted them on social media accounts.
No arrests have been made in the Sunday death or shootings.
The area has seen an increase in reports of shots fired and of shootings. The Oct. 15 shooting in near the Omni Hotel parking lot just off the mall occurred around 5:15 p.m., a time when throngs of people are beginning to arrive on the mall to visit music venues, restaurants, bars and stores.
Early the next morning, Oct. 16, police responded to shots fired on Hardy Drive. No one was hit or injured, but police are looking to see if the events are connected.
The shootings this weekend and last weekend are not outliers. Several incidents, including one that ended in fatality, have occurred in the city in the past two months.
Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 18, the Charlottesville Police Department received 11 reports of shots fired and weapons violations, according to the department’s crime map. Five of those occurred in October alone. The department has responded to approximately 162 calls of shots fired in the last six months.
Daquain Maurice Anderson was shot near Court Square about 3 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. Anderson later died of gunshot wounds at UVa Medical Center. A month later, police still haven’t made arrests in connection with his death.
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, at about 2:40 p.m., shots were fired in the 900 block of Anderson Street. When officers arrived, they found two men suffering from gunshot wounds when someone opened fire on their on their car.
The men were taken to UVa Medical Center. No arrests have been made in that shooting either. At that time, a woman whose daughter attends nearby Venable Elementary School said her daughter heard the shots as she was coming home from school.
The girl hid behind a car as the other car drove quickly by.
Platania said after the last downtown shooting that he disapproved of the rise in people shooting at each other, both locally and across the country. He called on the community for vigilance.
“It will take broad community partnerships to turn the tide and stem the violence,” he wrote, adding that a young age doesn’t excuse gun violence.
“If our office identifies individuals who make the choice to arm themselves and hurt others,” he wrote, “they will be arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated—regardless of their age.”
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