PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth police have arrested two suspects in separate weekend shootings, while classifying one scene as “gang-related.”
Officers were called to the 3500 block of Commonwealth Avenue just after 11 p.m. Saturday for gunshots they heard in the area. When they arrived, they found four people, all men ages 18 to 21, who had been shot. All were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Portsmouth Police said early Monday evening that “there is reason to believe that this is a gang-related incident.”
“Currently, we have no suspects, but we believe this has a gang-nexus,” Portsmouth Police Stephen Jenkins said in a video news release.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, two victims remain in stable condition, one has been released from the hospital and a fourth victim remains in critical condition.
About 30 minutes after the first shooting, police responded to another shooting in the 1100 block of Virginia Avenue, where officers found a man lying in a grassy area near a playground with a gunshot wound. That man, who police identified Monday as Darrio Mundon, 32, was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers at the first scene also heard the shots at the latter scene, Jenkins said.
Detectives were able to recover video footage and they saw multiple people “engaged in a gun battle.”
Mundon, police said, was an innocent bystander who was caught in the crossfire during a gunfight.
“His death was totally senseless,” Jenkins said.
Four people have been charged in Mundon’s death, and two — LeShon Byrd, 26, of Portsmouth and a 17-year-old — are in custody. Police are looking for two other 17-year-olds who have also been charged in Mundon’s shooting death, and based on information about what they said was his involvement in other shootings, have released his photo and his name — Ja’marion Williams of Portsmouth.
All four have been charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm — shooting in the commission of a felony, reckless handling of a firearm and underage possession of a firearm for the three teens charged.
Portsmouth Police explained their reasoning for releasing Williams’ photo and name, saying that “based on one of those juveniles already being wanted for two other shootings, one from 2022 and another from October 2023, and his current involvement in this homicide, he is deemed a threat to public safety and therefore we are taking the unusual step of releasing his name and photo, and we are asking for the public’s help in locating him.”
Police ask that if anyone knows Williams’ whereabouts to call police immediately at 757-393-8536 or 1-888-LOCK-U-UP and they should consider him armed and dangerous.
Portsmouth Police said with the latest shooting death, 36 people have died from gun violence in the city this year and stressed the need for community support “to combat these senseless acts.”
“The department urges citizens to remain vigilant and and report any suspicious activities to ensure the safety of the community,” the Portsmouth Police Department said in a statement. “The police department would like to express its gratitude to the citizens of Portsmouth for their cooperation and will continue to work tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“In the following days, increased presence from the Portsmouth Police Department, Virginia State Police and the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office can be expected, aiming to apprehend the violent offenders and make the city safer for all residents.”
Many people in the Westhaven neighborhood declined to comment on the shooting for fear of retaliation.
A woman who was afraid share her name, tells WAVY.com she saw what she believes were four teenagers rushed to the hospital.
“It was young boys, all of them [were] laying on the ground,” the woman said. “I have a teenager, my heart went out [to] them. I hope they’re doing better. I hope that this [is] an eye-opener for them and they get on the right track.”
She added: “We [have] got to take back our neighborhoods. Our children are dying too young.”
A man who did not want to be identified by name, said “I went out to see if there were any bullet holes [in my house] and I found an extended magazine. There were live rounds in the magazine.”
He added: “I didn’t touch it. I went and told the police officers about it. Then they went and took pictures of where it was laying, and they put it in a bag and took it.”
Jenkins, along with Assistant Chief Na’Shayla Nelson and former Police Chief Renado Prince, met Monday morning at the scene on Commonwealth Avenue. Police leaders discussed the investigation as the forensic unit and officers talked with neighbors.
A half-dozen neighbors in the area are still traumatized by the recent shooting.
“It’s scary. I never would have thought it would have happened so close to my own home.”
10 On Your Side’s Investigations team asked the Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales about the recent gun violence.
“Anytime we see instances of crime in the city. We know that the harm that is felt by the individuals who are individually impacted … that harm spreads throughout our entire community,” Morales said. “Seeing violent crime [and] seeking an end to that violent crime, that’s the ultimate goal [and] preventing it. But also on a reactive stand point. We are always standing ready to do what we can from system perspective to address it,” said Morales.
WAVY-TV 10 asked before police released an update Monday evening if the recent gun violence is possibly gang related?
“I can’t speak to what it is until I get the facts in front of me. I don’t ever make a habit of guessing,” Morales said. We have to be meticulous about what we say and how we address things. What I do know is that, all communities all around our nation, all around our state are dealing with some form of violence where individuals group together and harm communities.”
“Currently, based on the investigation of these two incidents, the police department has no reason to believe that these two incidents are related,” Jenkins said. “However, I want to highlight the fact that Mr. Mundon lost his life tragically and senselessly.”
separate shooting scenes in Portsmouth left one person dead and four others with serious injuries, police have arrested
Police also said they have made an arrest in an Oct. 22 homicide on Suburban Circle.
They arrested Markie Scarbor, 32, and have charged him with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, abduction and malicious wounding in the death of Robert Moye.
Scarbor is in custody at the Portsmouth City Jail without bond.
Correction: An earlier report spells Darrio Mundon’s name incorrectly, referencing the Portsmouth Police press release. WAVY.com has updated his name with the correct spelling.