Authorities in Virginia Beach arrested three more suspects believed to be connected to a deadly shooting that took place last week, officials said Tuesday.
The latest arrests over the shooting incidents that left two people dead and at least eight wounded brought the total of suspects taken into custody in relation to the violent crime to six.
Detectives executed three search warrants on March 28 with assistance from Virginia State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), according to a press release by the Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD).
The alleged gunmen arrested on Sunday were identified in the release as Gerald Scott Thomas II, 35, Jhaimeek Kerion Carter, 19, and Tyereis Smith, 18, all of the suspects are local residents.
Thomas II was charged with selling a firearm to a convicted felon, failing to perform a criminal history check prior to selling a firearm, possessing drugs with intent to distribute, and being a convicted felon with a firearm.
Carter was charged with three counts of selling a firearm to a convicted felon, failure to perform a criminal history check prior to the sale of a firearm, as well as the possession of drugs with intent to distribute.
Smith was charged with three counts of selling a firearm to a convicted felon and failure to run a criminal history check prior to selling a firearm.
The two victims that died in the spring of shooting incidents that happened on March 26 were identified as 25-year-old Donovon Lynch and 29-year-old Deshayla Harris.
Lynch, a former college football player who is reportedly the cousin of Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams, was shot by a local police officer in the last of three separate shootings along the city’s popular oceanfront strip of hotels and restaurants.
Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman with the VBPD, said officers responded to a pitched gun battle at a beachfront street party and found Lynch “brandishing a handgun.”
The department also said that a “separate, independent witness corroborated that Mr. Lynch was in possession of a handgun” earlier that evening. The body camera worn by the officer who shot Lynch had not been activated “for unknown reasons,” police said.
“This is the first time that I’ve encountered a situation where we’ve had no body worn camera footage,” Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the case is being investigated.
Both Lynch and the police officer who shot him are black.
The first shooting was prompted after a group of individuals were involved in some type of conflict that resulted in a physical fight, police said in an earlier statement on March 26.
“At some point during the physical altercation, several individuals produced firearms and began shooting at each other, resulting in numerous people being wounded,” the release stated.
A short time later while officers responded to the first shooting, more gunshots were heard and police found a woman later identified as Harris, who died to her injuries at the scene.
While the above shootings were transpiring, a VBPD officer encountered Lynch, who was reportedly armed with a handgun, resulting in a police-involved shooting.
“In total, 10 individuals were injured by gunfire, two of which are deceased,” according to the police statement. “Also, at some point during these three incidents, a VBPD officer was struck by a vehicle and transported to a local hospital. The officer has been treated and released.”
It is currently unclear if all the shooting incidents are related to the initial incident.
The three suspects that were previously arrested in connection to the spring of weekend shootings were identified as Ahmon Jahree Adams, 18, Nyquez Tyvon Baker, 18, and Devon Maurice Dorsey Jr., 20, each charged with seven counts of felony assault, illegally using a gun and recklessly handling a gun.
Chief Neudigate said three men who’ve been arrested are associated with two local gangs.
The officer who shot Lynch has been placed on administrative leave, police said. He has been with the department for five years and is assigned to its special operations division.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.