NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A man who surrendered to police Monday is facing multiple charges including murder in connection to fatal shootings in Hampton and Newport News.
The arrest of 21-year-old Elijah Dayron Armstrong came after police in each city responded to a shooting within an hour late Monday morning.
Newport News police responded to an Exxon gas station in the 13300 block of Jefferson Avenue just before 11:15 a.m., where a man was pronounced dead from a shooting.
Surveillance camera images shared by Newport News police showed the suspect, who was later identified as Armstrong. Police said the man killed in Newport News was 20-year-old Luis Eduardo Zambrana Jr.
Luis’s sister, Layla Zambrana, says it all feels so surreal, and that he was her best friend.
“My dad FaceTimed me and he said Louis is gone, they shot him, they killed my baby, he’s dead. That’s kind of really when it hit me,” Zambrana said.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew says the community stepped in to help in his case.
“So often we’re asking people if you see something, say something, and that wasn’t the case here. There were several witnesses here and several that stayed to talk to us. I think that’s a testament of wanting to cooperate and not tolerate that senseless act of violence,” Drew said.
Five schools in Newport News were placed on lockdown Monday as police investigated the scene on Jefferson Avenue: Dozier Middle School, Denbigh Early Childhood Center, Lee Hall Elementary, Woodside High School and Greenwood Elementary.
A criminal complaint filed on Monday states surveillance video obtained from the gas station showed a suspect approach a victim standing in line and shoot them twice at point-blank range. The suspect then ran from the store and fled the area.
The complaint states that Armstrong’s father brought him to the Newport News Sheriff’s Office on Monday evening after watching news reports showing the surveillance images of his son.
An officer obtained two grocery bags that contained a Glock 23 handgun, a black knitting cap, ammunition and two latex gloves. The officer transported Armstrong to the Newport News Police Department, according to the complaint.
Armstrong is charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in connection with the Newport News shooting.
On Tuesday, Zambrana’s family came back to the store where their loved one died.
Layla tells 10 On Your Side her brother loved theater and briefly attended Norfolk State University.
“He was such a great person. He was so goofy and he was really fun loving,” she said. “He was a kind soul.”
Hampton police responded to 100 block of Ireland Street — in the area of Phoebus High School — just after 11:50 a.m. for a shooting. A 38-year-old man found in the school’s parking lot was pronounced dead at the scene.
The scene on Ireland Street prompted a lockdown of Phoebus High School that was lifted around 2:30 p.m.
Hampton police said in a news release Tuesday that the victim, Lamar French, was working as a driver for a transportation company at the time of the shooting — and that Armstrong was his passenger.
There is no indication the two knew each other before Monday’s incident, police said in the release.
Armstrong is charged with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and discharge of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school in connection with the Hampton shooting.