PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A jury of eight men and four women needed less than an hour to find a man guilty in the attempted murder of a Portsmouth police officer in 2017.
After a three-day trial, Will Patterson, Jr., was found guilty on twelve counts, including attempted aggravated murder, aggravated malicious wounding, malicious injury to a law enforcement officer, three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, four counts of shoot in public with bodily injury, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a firearm by minor.
Patterson opted to be sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Joel Crowe who presided over the jury trial. His sentencing is set for November 9. Patterson faces from 20 years to life in prison on the attempted murder charge alone.
“We were hoping for something different [in the verdict]. We do believe we put on the best defense that we could with the facts that we were given,” said defense attorney Artisha Gregg.
Patterson was charged in the shooting of Portsmouth police officer Angelina Baaklini-White on November 6, 2017, on Hickory Street.
Patterson, 15 at the time, was riding his bike and listed as a runaway.
Baaklini-White, was alone and in uniform in her marked police car when she stopped the cruiser and attempted to detain Patterson after confirming who he was.
“I’ve got to take you home,” she told him.
During the trial, Baaklini-White told the jury that she stood behind Patterson and placed handcuffs on his left wrist. Before she could control his right wrist, he drew a black and silver Taurus .45-caliber pistol and shot her below the collarbone near her left shoulder.
According to the officer, Patterson fired five more times. She sustained several wounds, including one to a major artery in her left thigh. Patterson fled, and a man who lived on the next street came to Baaklini-White’s aide and used her radio to summon help. Fellow officers arrived and applied a tourniquet to her badly wounded leg.
Portsmouth officers testified during the trial that they saw Patterson “sprinting across High Street” and followed him to a grassy area within London Oaks apartments. That’s where he was arrested with the handcuffs dangling from his left wrist.
Defense attorney Nathan Chapman said in closing arguments that Patterson was just trying to get away.
“We respect [the jury’s] decision, but we wish that they embraced how quickly things devolved for him in those few seconds,” Chapman said.
Baaklini-White spent more than two weeks at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital recovering. To this day, she needs a special pump to maintain proper circulation in her damaged leg, and she has limited function in her left arm and hand. She says she sees a counselor weekly for the psychological scars.
Baaklini-White and her family members chose not to comment following the verdict.
The defense attorneys want to present information to Judge Crowe prior to sentencing about the decision-making process of a typical 15-year-old.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Haillie Hogfeldt and Camden Freeman said in a statement following the verdicts that they were grateful for the jury’s service and proud to have contributed to making Portsmouth a safer place.
“It was our only goal to fight to the best of our ability to provide justice for our victim and everyone
who worked to save her life back in 2017. We are grateful for the jury’s service and are proud to
have contributed to making Portsmouth a safer place for all.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales said in a statement that she applauds the bravery of Officer Baaklini, now known as Angelina White, and commended everyone affected by Patterson’s “malicious acts.”