PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth police are looking for two persons of interest following a shooting on Saturday that killed a 14-year-old and critically injured a 15-year-old.
Dispatchers got a call at 6:24 p.m. about an incident in the 200 block of Elm Avenue.
When police got to the scene, they found the teens with life-threatening gunshot wounds. Both victims were rushed to a local hospital where one of them, a 14-year-old, later succumbed to their injuries.
Police say the second teen, a 15-year-old, is still in critical condition.
Detectives were able to get surveillance photos of two people whom they believe are persons of interest in the shooting incident.
10 On Your Side spoke with neighbors near the scene who say they heard what sounded like firecrackers.
One neighbor, Gloria Forde, came home to find a police car parked at the school. She realized something was wrong when more first responders showed up.
“Who in the world would go to the back of the school that time of the day, early sun bright, and shoot someone in the park? It wasn’t like someone couldn’t see or hear you,” she said.
Forde has lived in the neighborhood for 42 years and says it’s quiet.
Derrick Pittman, who’s lived there for six years, agreed.
“It was kind of devastating, sad, and kind of unbelievable,” he said about the shooting. “We don’t usually experience this type of activity up this way.”
Pittman says he knew something was wrong on Saturday after hearing the numerous emergency sirens outside.
The father of young children says he’s taken his kids to the playground where the shooting occurred multiple times.
“It’s scary. It’s funny you ask because I’ve decided to chose another park,” he said. “It’s right here. It’s convenient. It’d kind of scary because I don’t want them to discover anything like that. If they would’ve come and the individuals involved were over there, it would’ve been devastating. I’ve kind of re-though where we’ll do playtime. I’ve put a stamp on it.”
Those we spoke with hope the incident is an isolated one.
Pittman says there’s no way to control others actions but he’ll take safety precautions.
“We can make awareness of what the right things are to do and be supportive of the community to just spread positivity. Other then that, I think it will create isolation in a sense,” he said.
Forde says times are different now then when she grew up because the younger generation seems to be more likely victims of gun violence.
“When I was coming along, it was fist fights, throw rocks, and stuff. Now, they have guns. They use them before they think,” she said.
She hopes that something will be done to prevent these things from happening.
“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people with guns. If they were not accessible, you would not be having these deaths,” she said.
Forde is also praying that whoever is behind the shooting is caught and that the peace that was there before the shooting returns.
“We need to pray. Our young people … our young people are in trouble. I’m praying for them. Thus far, nothing seems to be working,” Forde said.