PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A local mother is seeking justice after her 19-year-old daughter was gunned down and killed outside of her apartment building on Saturday, July 2.
Toni Knight was walking inside the Artist Space Lofts along Perry Street with her two young nieces when a group of gunmen opened fire. Knight got caught in the crossfire and a bullet struck her in the chest, killing her. Knight’s 12-year-old niece was also grazed by a bullet, but survived.
Video obtained by 8News shows the tense moments as family members arrived on the scene to find Knight lying lifeless on the sidewalk. We’re told a niece held her hand until first responders arrived.
“They took my baby’s life,” Knight’s mother, Diane Branzelle, said. “She was going home to cook and do her nieces’ hair, and she didn’t get to make it inside because of other people’s nonsense.”
Branzelle told 8News that she and her daughter had just gone shopping for groceries when the tragedy struck. Now, the family wants justice for their innocent loved one whom they called their ‘Stinka.’
“Toni, my Stinka, was a very beautiful, loving, the most kind-hearted and genuine person you could ever meet,” Branzelle said. “She did not deserve this.”
Two days after the shooting, Petersburg Police arrested and charged 19-year-old Delvin Mitchell with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in connection to the deadly shooting. However, detectives are still working to identify anyone else involved.
As of Tuesday afternoon, a memorial consisting of flowers and pictures had formed outside of the apartments where Knight died.
Knight’s family told 8News they’re trying to stay strong as they deal with this unimaginable loss.
“She really touched the community,” her mother said. “She loved her family and her friends entirely. Her family was her world. That’s all she cared about. She was the glue and now the glue is gone.”
Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to contact the Petersburg Crime Solvers at 804-861-1212 or use the P3 TIps mobile app. Crime Solvers will pay a reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.