PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A student of Virginia State University (VSU) was allegedly shot and found dead inside a car. This marks the second VSU student shooting death in just nine days.
A woman who lives in the 700 block of High Street was home with her daughter around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, when she says she heard gunshots outside her home.
“I was laying in bed, and then I heard about three to four shots,” the woman told 8News.
The woman, a current VSU student and mother, was on the phone with Petersburg Police as she walked outside. She says she found a running car rolling back into the Middleton fence, pointing directly at her house.
According to the woman, another neighbor walked outside yelling, “Who is in the car?” The victim was later revealed to be 20-year-old Adrionna Brooks West of Chester. West was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The woman told 8 News that West was a VSU sophomore who was visiting her sister in the neighborhood.
“She was in the driver’s seat,” the woman said. “And, you know, I was yelling out, ‘Is she breathing? Can she have CPR?’ But before that could even happen, we [saw] that she was gone and it was just way too late.”
Police reported that a male juvenile suspect had fled the scene. He was later taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder, three counts of shooting into an occupied vehicle and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
The president of VSU, Makola M. Abdullah, sent out a media release on the deadly shooting, addressing West’s death, and offering grief services to the Trojan Community.
“Every student contributes to the community we create together at Virginia State University,” Abdullah’s statement said. “The loss of this member of our community saddens us deeply. We stand in solidarity at the most sad and difficult time and ask everyone in our community to support each other.”
Just a little over a week earlier, on Aug. 25, another VSU student was shot and killed.
Petersburg Police found 19-year-old Matthew Gibbs of Columbia, South Carolina, suffering from a gunshot wound near Walnut Hill Elementary School. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he died. Gibbs was a freshman at the university. Police said a juvenile suspect had been charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and discharging a firearm within city limits in connection with the incident.
The woman told 8News her heart goes out to the families of both students but the violence in Petersburg has to stop.
“I can’t imagine what they’re going through,” she said. “Just seeing what I [saw] right in front of my house — right in front of my doorstep — the city, you know, is not safe anymore.”