Portsmouth murder suspect turns himself in after fatal shooting on Merrimac Drive


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A man has been charged with murder after the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old Portsmouth man Thursday night at an apartment complex on Merrimac Drive.

The shooting was reported at 8:20 p.m. and police found the victim, Elijah R. Chavis, with a gunshot wound to his upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives were able to identify a suspect, who turned himself into police. 28-year-old Dione R. Benson, of Portsmouth, is charged with murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

(WAVY photo/Brett Hall)

No other details have been released in the case, but anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or submit a tip online.

Portsmouth Police spokeswoman Misty Holley said officers are planning a reset walk Monday, Jan. 6 at 3 p.m. in the area of this shooting.

Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene was unable to speak with WAVY on camera, but released a statement about both the Merrimac Drive shooting and another fatal shooting on Lake Forest Court.

Both shootings happened Jan. 2.

“The Portsmouth Police Department responded to two shooting incidents within 24 hours that impacted our community and resulted in two men losing their lives. The safety and well-being of our citizens is a top priority for our agency and as such, we want to reassure our citizens that our investigators are working diligently on both cases. As a result, they have concluded that neither incident was a random act of violence. In the shooting incident that occurred on Merrimac Drive, the suspect has been identified and arrested. Detectives have ascertained that this shooting stemmed from a domestic-related incident and that the victim and suspect knew each other. The shooting investigation on Lake Forest Court is still ongoing and many details cannot be released at this time. As we continue our investigation into this shooting, we are asking anyone who may have information about this case or any crime that has occurred in the City of Portsmouth to call the Portsmouth Crime Line.”

– Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene

Some neighbors tell 10 On Your Side they are worried about safety after the homicide in Swanson Homes.

“It was very sad coming home to that,” said Rasheida Powell. “It was crazy. When I pulled up, like I said, all the cops were in front of my house. I saw the yellow tape and stuff out and it was just crazy.”

Her three young children also saw the commotion.

“My son, he was like, ‘Mom, I’m getting tired of these guns, too.’ He’s 9 years old,” Powell said.

Neighbor Willis Coppedge says violence in the area has actually decreased.

“It’s gotten better; it’s not to the point where I’m scared to walk around, but I wish it was better,” Coppedge said.

Powell hopes this trend of shooting deaths doesn’t continue throughout 2020.

“We need to unite, we need to be there for each other. We need to uplift each other. We need to push each other to get better,” Powell said.

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