State police identify man found dead in the back of a car on I-95 North after overnight shooting

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia State Police is investigating after a person died in a shooting on Interstate 95 just before midnight on Monday.

At 11:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 10, police responded to an incident in the northbound lanes of I-95 near the Colonial Heights and Chesterfield County line.

At this stage in the investigation, police are saying the shooting began near the 55 mile-marker as a black 2011 Ford Focus and another vehicle were traveling north on I-95.

At mile-marker 58 near Ruffin Mill Road, the Focus pulled off onto the right shoulder.

Police added an unknown vehicle pulled in front of the Focus and stopped on the shoulder.

A male suspect in the unknown vehicle got out and continued shooting at the Focus.

The Ford’s male driver and one male passenger were said to have ran from the scene, according to police, who have given all the information in this report.

Police announced Tuesday that the male driver of the Ford may have been injured during the shooting. They said they have been checking all nearby hospitals. The Ford passenger, a 22-year-old from Richmond, ran away in the same general direction as the driver, but eventually returned to the Ford Focus, according to state police.

A spokesperson for VSP said that the unknown vehicle then drove off, as the male shooter ran away on foot. The male shooter from the unknown vehicle was reportedly picked up a short time later by another unknown vehicle near a group of dealerships along I-95.

Kavon Jordan works in one of the nearby dealerships and is thankful customers weren’t hurt.

“It’s scary,” he told 8News. “We have a lot of customers and kids that come here. A lot of parents bring their kids to purchase vehicles – we’re just at work trying to make money so it’s kind of scary. It’s really scary.”

Inside the Ford Focus, state police found a dead male passenger in the back seat. On Tuesday afternoon, the shooting victim was identified as 21-year-old Jamari Phillips of Richmond. His body is now being examined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Numerous shots were fired, according to a VSP spokesperson, who said authorities recovered more than two dozen shell casings from the scene. Nearby residents also described hearing multiple shots fired one right after another, saying it sounded like fireworks.

Police said that at least two guns were used during the shooting. They believe the incident was targeted.

But this is not the first shooting incident on this stretch of I-95, leaving drivers who often travel there concerned about the safety of the roadway. Back in August, a chase on the interstate led to a shooting with Chesterfield County Police near W. Hundred Road. In March, two people were hospitalized after a shooting on I-95 in Colonial Heights.

Monday’s incident is still under investigation, according to police. Anyone with information is asked to contact Virginia State Police by calling 804-609-5656.

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