Court docs: Homicide suspect told Portsmouth police 23-year-old victim was killed in drug robbery


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A man accused of murder told Portsmouth detectives that his cousin shot a robber who was trying to steal drugs from them, according to court records.

Tony Hicks and Thomas Austin, both 58, are accused of murdering 23-year-old Quashawn Clark. The shooting happened in a shed in the 2100 block of Piedmont Avenue on Oct. 6. Clark got into a car and drove away after the shooting. He crashed into a nearby home on Palmer Street. Emergency workers took him to a local hospital, where he died.

Investigating officers found a trail of blood near the scene that led them to a shed in the back of a nearby home. Officers noticed that someone apparently tried to wash away the blood using water from a nearby hose, court records state.

The resident of the home told police that Hicks lived in the shed. They also gave officers permission to search the shed. Police found 30 capsules of suspected heroin, a gun magazine with bullets, and a spent shell casing outside the shed. They found a spent bullet, a backpack with a prescription pill bottle in Austin’s name, and a stolen gun inside the shed, according to court records.

Detectives found Hicks in the 1400 block of Effingham Street and took him in for questioning. He changed his story several times during the interview. Hicks initially denied having any involvement in Clark’s death but later told detectives that his cousin fired the fatal shot, court records state.

Hicks told detectives that Clark had been to the shed to buy drugs several times the night before the shooting. Hicks and Austin were sleeping in the shed when Clark knocked on the door around 4:30 a.m. Hicks answered, and Clark allegedly pushed him against a wall and demanded drugs while pointing a gun at him, according to court records.

Clark was able to grab a pill bottle with heroin in it while struggling with Hicks. Austin allegedly got a gun that was stored behind a chair in the shed and shot Clark, who fell backward out of the shed and dropped the drugs.

Clark got into a car and fled the scene before crashing it into the side of a nearby home.

A car crashed into a home on Palmer Street in Portsmouth after a man was shot. (WAVY/Kiahnna Patterson)

Hicks tried to wash away the blood and the cousins tried to hide the guns under the house, court records state.

Hicks is charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and distribution of narcotics. Austin is charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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