VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Beach police chief calls the shooting in the Level Green area of the city around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday morning concerning.
“Shooting at someone in the city is unacceptable,” Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate said, adding that “we should all be troubled that we have two young 16-year-old males out at 2 a.m., all carrying firearms.”
This incident happened hours after National Night Out, a night to take a stand against crime in our communities.
“It was just a few hours earlier we were out in the community having a great time,” Neudigate said. Engaging in probably the biggest community policing event for the year. A few hours later, receiving a phone call that an officer that was shot at.”
A police squad trying to protect the community after a report of auto theft came under fire.
“We have an officer, plain clothes and plain clothes vehicle just doing surveillance to see if he observes criminal activity to let the uniformed officers know and we have individuals that step out in the street and unload 20 plus rounds at the vehicle,” he said.
Police said the officer fired back and then left the area.
The officer wasn’t struck by gunfire but was treated for cuts from broken glass.
Two 16-year-olds were detained, one from Norfolk charged with two counts of tampering with an automobile, shooting at a vehicle, possession of a firearm by a juvenile and possession of an extended ammunition magazine in public. The other, from Virginia Beach, has been charged with two counts of tampering with an automobile, shooting at a vehicle and possession of a firearm by a juvenile.
The chief said this could have ended tragically.
“We are incredibly lucky that we don’t have an officer we have to bury today,” Neudigate said.
He said the officer is in good spirits. He was placed on administrative leave following proper protocol.
What concerns Neudigate is how these teens got ahold of the weapons.
“We are very early in our investigation, but because of the number of firearms left in cars,” Neudigate said, “we have an epidemic of young men stealing out of cars and getting firearms. Those firearms are then introduced in our community and they are used in our robberies and in our shootings.”
The chief told 10 On Your Side there is no indication right now that they were targeting police.
He said there are more people involved that the department is looking for.
“When you shoot at one of our officers in the beach, it’s our top priority,” Neudigate said. “We have marshaled all the resources of all our operation units to continue this investigation.”
Neudigate said the department continues to investigate and if you have any information about other people involved, contact the VBPD Detective Bureau at 757-385-4101 or anonymously through Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.