Woman recalls horrifying night her teen sister was gunned down

Posted at 7:18 PM, Nov 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-21 00:19:49-05

Hampton, Va. - A teenager was gunned down in her own home just weeks after her high school graduation.

We're taking you inside this investigation and you can help to find her killer.

Her sister is talking about that terrifying night when bullets flew over her head and the moment she knew her big sister Vinnesha was hit.

“She didn't realize she was shot at first until we saw the blood splat on the kitchen floor,” says Zhane Gayles. “You could tell she was in pain. She was moaning. You could tell she was like, Why me? Her eyes were asking why me?”

“When the first bullet came through the house, it was a big spark and my first reaction, I could actually feel the heat.  My first reaction was just to jump,” says Gayles.

Gayles has been reliving that horrifying night for more than two years.

"That's the hardest part.  Actually seeing the person dying in front of you and knowing you was there and you couldn't do nothing," says Gayles.

Police think it was a stray bullet that cut this Kecoughtan High School graduate's life short on July 9, 2011.

"She said 'Dad, I told you I was going to graduate.  I told you I was going to bring a diploma home to you.'  I was a very proud father that day," says Vincent Cousins, Vinnesha's father.

Vinnesha was shot while she was hanging out with her sisters inside her home.

Detective Steven Rodey says this is one of those cases he can't stop thinking about.

That's why he's opening up his case files for NewsChannel 3, taking us inside the investigation and  giving us new information, showing us crime scene photos for the first time.

“We believe that Vinnesha had heard some commotion outside the house. She went to those blinds,” says Rodey.

Police think the violence started with a car chase.

The cars were on I-64 east when they exited onto Lasalle Avenue and then they took a left on Carolina Street.

Now Hampton police want to talk to the person being chased.  In fact, Detective Rodey says that person is a victim, too and could be the key to solving this case.

"He's being chased. We don't suspect him of firing any shots. It's the people chasing him.  We need him to come forward or someone who talked to him.  The actual individual I need to talk to is probably still scared," says Rodey.

But Vinnesha's dad says it's time to take action against crime.

"We know who's doing this stuff.  We just not answering the call.  We just got to get these guys off the streets shooting their guns out here," says Cousins.

"It will be closure to me. I won't have to dream about it no more," says Gayles who just wants justice for her sister.

"Love is not even a question. It's like she was me and I was her.  My sisters mean everything to me and to have one not here, it's heartbreaking," says Gayles.

If you have any information about Vinnesha Hunter's murder or the cars involved in the chase that night, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.