PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A family is dealing with the loss of their young son after he was shot and killed over the weekend.
Petersburg police officers were called to the Shortt’s Grocery convenience store located on Harding and Mistletoe Streets on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 9:36 p.m.
When officers arrived they found 15-year-old Laquan Smith and another boy with gunshot wounds.
Neighbors told 8News they were distraught after hearing the gunshots. Many of them saw Smith laying on the ground. Roneisha Mccomb lives nearby and was startled by the incident.
Mccomb said a woman stopped to help Smith.
“I know a young lady told him to keep his eyes open,” Mccomb said.
The boys were taken to the hospital, where Smith later died. The other boy now has non-life-threatening injuries.
“These young people don’t need to be out here shooting each other and getting killed for nonsense,” Mccomb said.
According to Petersburg police, a vehicle was captured on surveillance video. Officers believe a silver Ford Explorer or a Mercury Mountaineer was spotted in the area at the time of the shooting. Police believe the driver of that car began shooting toward the store.
The early stages of the investigation revealed the two boys were in the doorway of the store when they were hit. However, at this time, officers do not know if they were going in the store or exiting the store.
Travis Christian is the Chief of Police for the Petersburg Police Department. Christian said it’s ‘alarming’ that this is the second juvenile death in the city recently.
“It’s really significant for us here in this city. You know, we always want to protect our children,” Christian said.
According to Petersburg police, Smith is from Wakefield, which is located about 40 minutes south of the city. Police said Smith and the other boy who was shot on Sunday knew each other. The two are either related or close friends.
“There’s something that brought them to our community, the city of Petersburg. And we want to protect all, especially our children,” Christian said. “To see someone of that age lose their life to a senseless act of violence such as this is bothersome to us. We have to do what we can do to try to bring this case to some closure.”
Shortt’s Grocery reopened on Wednesday, Aug. 17, after being closed the last few days.
Detectives have been working every day to try to retrace the boys’ steps and find out what led them to the store. At this time, officers do not know why the two boys were in the area.
Anyone who was in the area at the time of the shooting or who can identify the suspect vehicle is encouraged to contact the Petersburg/Dinwiddie Crime Solvers at 804-861-1212. You can also go to www.p3tips.com.
Crime Solvers pays a reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.