CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield Police share new details about officers coming face to face with murder suspects on the same day as a fatal shooting.
On Thursday, police announced the arrests of Avontae Smith, 21, and Asuntae Barksdale, 25, and charged them with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Robert Ashburn, 56, was shot and killed on Oct. 31, 2022. Police said he was heading to work at around 3:30 a.m. when he saw someone rummaging through his girlfriend’s unlocked car on North Carriage Lane.
The confrontation between Ashburn and the suspect was caught on surveillance video in the driveway. Police said the suspect fired the gun and then ran away. Ashburn died at the scene.
In early November, police released the following surveillance video to the public in hopes that it could help them identify the suspect.
Captain Michael Breeden told 8News Friday that the surveillance video was crucial in solving the case.
“As we got into the investigation further, it was determined that it was even more vital than what we initially thought,” he said.
The video captures the moments before Ashburn was shot to death in his driveway. The suspect says “Bro, stop bro.” Then Ashburn asks “What are you doing bro?”
“Each case is unique. None of them are really the same when it comes to these types of heinous crimes. Probably the worst crime that we investigate,” Breeden said.
Police also revealed that officers pulled over Barksdale on the night of the murder.
Detectives reviewed bodycam footage of the traffic stop and saw that there had been two other people inside the vehicle with Barksdale that night.
After an extensive investigation, Barksdale of Richmond was arrested in connection to the shooting on Nov. 18, 2022. Barksdale was charged with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Smith was identified by police as one of the two other occupants. He was arrested on Nov. 29, 2022, and was charged with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony in connection to the shooting.
“When we’re able to close these investigations, it helps us to bring closure to the families and to bring justice but just because an arrest has been done does not mean that we’ve stopped investigating,” Breeden said.
Detectives also identified the third person in the vehicle but it was determined — after consultation with the Chesterfield County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office — that they were not charged in connection to the incident.
Chesterfield police warn that residents who catch someone in the act of a property crime, should not approach them — instead, they recommend calling 911 for help.