Phoebus Auction Gallery employee handling gun fatally shoots fellow employee


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A gun was picked up by an employee at the Phoebus Auction Gallery on Tuesday afternoon, with a live round in the chamber. 

Hampton police say that bullet fatally struck another employee at the store on East Mellen Street around 2:40 p.m. Officers were called to the scene for a shooting complaint, and found the victim, a man, suffering from a single gunshot wound. 

He was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS crews. Police later identified him as 30-year-old Courtney Dewayne Thomas, of Hampton.

Police say the preliminary investigation shows the employee who was handling the gun somehow discharged the weapon, hitting the other employee. 

“Everywhere around here is just a community. Everybody is sad obviously accidents aren’t planned things happen but yea it’s kind of a downer,” said  Caleb DeVito, General Manager at the Point at Phoebus. 

A man named Travis tells 10 On Your Side, he’s the son of the couple who own the auction gallery, and says the two employees involved were good friends.

He says they had worked closely together for over a year. 

Officers are still investigating whether this was an accident, or whether there was a motive. Anyone who has information is asked to call police at (757) 727-6111 or the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.. 

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