CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – A Richmond family is heartbroken after their 33-year-old father, brother, son and cousin was killed in a shooting Sunday night in the parking lot of the Appomattox Police Station in Chester. Family told 8News the man’s 8-year-old daughter witnessed the shooting.
Stuart Jeffries, a Richmond native, was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot around 6:30 p.m. in that parking lot Sunday. An on-duty officer was sitting in the station parking lot at the time of the shooting and heard the gunshot when it rang out.
Police found the suspect who was identified as 44-year-old Corey D. Goodson Sr., and took him into custody at the scene.
Goodson, of the 6100 block of Varina Point Lane in Richmond, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in relation to the shooting.
Through tears, Jeffries’ sister, Tai Jeffries, said her brother was her heart, her first friend and the best brother anyone could ask for. “It’s unbelievable, it’s unreal,” she said about the loss of her big brother.
She said Stuart, or as most knew him, Stu, was at the police station meeting his ex-wife to exchange custody of his 8-year-old daughter when the shooting happened.
“My brother was a loving dad, he was a loving brother, he was a loving son, all he wanted to do was work and take care of his child,” she cried. “Now one child has no father.”
Tai Jeffries said Goodson, the suspect charged in the case, was the new boyfriend of Jeffries’ ex-wife. She said he is usually never present at a custody exchange between Jeffries and his ex-wife, but this time, he was. “I just, I don’t get it,” Tai Jeffries said.
She said Jeffries’ 8-year-old daughter was in the car near where the shooting happened and witnessed the whole thing. In an interview with 8News Monday, Tai Jeffries gave a message to her niece. “I pray comfort on you and don’t never forget nothing TT ever told you,” she said. “I’m sorry you had to go through that, I’m sorry you had to witness it.”
Jeffries’ cousin, Fred Lofton spoke with 8News Monday, and said he didn’t see Jeffries as his cousin, but more like his brother. “He was a stand-up guy. A hard-working man,” Lofton said.
Lofton said it’s ridiculous that a shooting happened at what is supposed to be a safe spot for a child exchange in the police station parking lot.
Tai Jeffries said her brother worked for Pepsi, just got his CDL license recently and loved kickboxing.
“That was my sanity. That was what kept me together. I feel so empty, I feel so lost. I feel so mad, I feel so sad,” Tai Jeffries cried, describing what her brother meant to her.
She said the custody exchange didn’t have to end in a shooting. “It didn’t have to go this far. All he wanted was his child,” Tai Jeffries said.
Jeffries’ sister went on to say that what happened Sunday night is a lesson that anyone who may have to deal with a custody exchange should learn.
“This is a story for everybody,” she explained. “This is an example that things could go left, and it shouldn’t go this far. Make everything about the child. At this point, it’s not about how you feel, it’s not about whatever. It’s about the child.”
“This shooting unfolded rapidly and Officer Dean, at great personal risk, didn’t hesitate to demonstrate a sufficient command bearing and verbal de-escalation techniques to bring a chaotic situation to order without any use of physical force,” said Col. Jeffrey S. Katz, chief of police. “Officer Dean’s courageous and decisive actions prevented further violence, protected bystanders, and eliminated any ongoing threat to our community. While saddened by this tragic loss of life, I am very proud of him.”
Police continue to investigate whether Goodson was permitted to possess the firearm used in the shooting and, if not, how that firearm came to be in his possession.
Editor’s note 01/25/22: The photos and information in this article have been updated to remove information identifying information for a minor.