VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach police said six people were shot early Thursday morning at the Oceanfront.
Police spokesperson Tonya Pierce said they found the first person shot around 12:30 a.m. on Atlantic Avenue, near 18th and 19th streets. Five more victims were found nearby at 20th Street and Pacific Avenue.
During the investigation, police blocked a section of 18th and 19th Street on both Atlantic and Pacific Avenue. Also, the 19th Street Municipal parking lot was taped-off.
Pierce said all six went to a hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
People who spoke with 10 On Your Side said this is not how they planned to end their Independence Day celebrations.
A man who spoke off camera said he heard the gunshots and saw two people on the ground in front of the Bargain Beachwear shop on Atlantic and two more people close to 19th Street. He said he believes the victims were shot in their legs.
Bullet casings and clothes were spotted on the ground outside of the shop as police investigated.
Pierce said detectives believe the shooting started in the 1800 block of Atlantic Avenue. The shooting is believed to have been random, and not a targeted attack.
Witnesses and victims in the shooting could not identify suspects, according to Pierce.
This comes after two people were shot early Wednesday morning in another area of Atlantic Avenue. One of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries, while the other was grazed by a bullet.
Thursday’s incident was part of a violent night across Hampton Roads in which a total of 11 people were shot — including eight in Virginia Beach.
Two other gunshot victims showed up at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital around 2 a.m. Thursday. It was unknown whether this was related to the incident at the Oceanfront.
One of the shootings happened on Greenbrier Avenue near Naval Station Norfolk just after midnight. It was not clear where the second shooting happened, but a person went to Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center with a gunshot wound.
On Thursday at the Oceanfront, tourists were packing coolers heading to the beach at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, but unfortunately due to recent shootings at the Oceanfront, one Atlantic Avenue business is packing heat.
OMG EVERYTHING’s JD Hakes, “It’s a 44 cal. revolver, and it is a very big bullet, and it has a lot of stopping power. It’s for our protection and our customers’ protection.”
That gun was pulled after an early morning shooting a few businesses down from where a man was shot on the sidewalk.
“I was right there,” said store owner Dave May. “I heard bang, bang, bang, super loud. A major size gun. I jumped to the floor and grabbed my gun.”
It was that revolver.
“I was pretty much ducking, like this,” Hakes said.
May was bent over at the waist, showing how he waited for someone to come through the door. “I was crouching near the door waiting near the door. If I see someone come in with a gun, I would have to make a decision to save everybody.”
May also showed 10 On Your Side surveillance video from inside the store at 12:29 am.
At that moment a woman comes running at the time of the shooting.
OMG EVERTHING’s Hugo Fonseca, “I was walking out, and I saw this girl running inside. I thought she might have been shot, so I took her to the back to make sure she’s safe. She starts crying, sobbing.” May also showed a picture of a bullet casing that ended up on his floor, “That is the bullet from the shooting. It is on our carpet. It shows you how close to home it was.”
May also says the crime climate is changing the business climate, “It is worrisome as a business owner. I have 6 years left on my lease, and you know this year was a decline. If it continues to be a decline I will question my business decision to stay here … this is supposed to be a family beach we want to get that family image back.”
May also thinks police presence could have been stronger Wednesday night into Thursday morning, “I think they did a good job on college week, and maybe other big events like Fourth of July when they know a lot of people do something like that again.”