A 17-year-old on his way home from a high school graduation celebration and a police officer where among three people killed in a shooting spree in Norfolk, Va., officials said today.
James Brown, 29, is reported to have started shooting randomly Friday night as he drove through Norfolk. According to police, witnesses saw Brown shoot at 17-year-old Mark Rodriguez’s car.
The teenager was on his way home at the time and was struck by at least one bullet, police said. He was declared dead at the scene.
A police officer responding to the attack was also killed after he identified Brown’s vehicle near his home. Brown shot officers Brian Jones and Curtis Allison multiple times from inside his home, after they identified his car.
Allison was injured as he attempted to aid Jones, who had been hit several times.
Both officers were transported to a local hospital, where Jones was declared dead.
After injuring the two officers, Jones attempted to flee the area, but was stopped after crashing into another car. According to police, Brown refused to comply with another officer’s commands and attempted to take the officer’s gun.
Brown was shot as he struggled with an officer, who was attempting to arrest him. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.
After the shooting, Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith said Rodriguez had just been in “the wrong place at the wrong time” and that losing an officer like Jones “hurts.”
“He’s trained, he responded, he did everything he was supposed to do,” Goldsmith told ABC News affiliate WVEC-TV in Norfolk. “My heart goes out to the family, my heart goes out to anybody that worked with him. I’m a cop just like everybody else is. This hurts … when one of us goes, especially in the line of duty like this. It’s tough.”
Goldsmith said Jones was a five-year veteran of the police force and is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. Officer Allison is expected to make a full recovery.
According to the Virginia Pilot, Brown was convicted of assaulting a police officer in 2010 and of carrying a loaded weapon in 2012, for which he served a year sentence.
The head of Norfolk Christian Schools alerted parents and students today that Rodriguez had been killed in the shooting.
“I have been praying, weeping and trying to process this information for hours,” wrote Pat McCarty, the head of Norfolk Christian Schools. “Knowing that Mark’s sweet smile is looking at the face of the Savior he loves, knowing that his worship is sweeter than he ever imagined, does not help my heart accept that we have lost him for a time.”
McCarty said the school would be open and grief counselors would be available on Sunday.