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3 people dead, 1 person critically injured in Portsmouth shooting

PT Maple Avenue homicide
Posted at 11:40 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 19:01:30-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A shooting in Portsmouth has left three people dead and another person seriously injured Tuesday morning.

According to police, the shooting occurred near the 1500 block of Maple Avenue around 9:36 a.m.

Police say three adults are dead and another adult was seriously injured.

Wednesday, police identified the victims as 30-year-old Georgio Davonta Lee; 37-year-old Oleisha Deanna Mears; and 34-year-old Ashley Merricks.

The fourth victim, a 66-year-old man, suffered life-threatening injuries and is currently in critical condition.

Police say the victims do not appear to be related, but they believe that they all lived in the home together.

According to witnesses, a possible 2011 black GMC Acadia with Virginia tags VVF-9829 was seen leaving the area after the shooting occurred.

Another shooting took place Tuesday morning near the 1000 block of Seventh Street. A man was shot and sent to hospital, but the extent of his injuries is unknown.

Portsmouth Police held a press conference at 3 p.m Tuesday to provide updates. During the conference, Portsmouth Police Chief Renado Prince says every resource is being used to address crime in the city.

A community plagued with crime: Portsmouth Police respond to latest string of shootings

He noted that there have been 12 shootings in Portsmouth in the last seven days. He said some were gang-related, while others were not. Below is a list:

  • June 1 - 200 block of Avondale Road
    • 12:52 p.m.
    • Unknown if gang-related
  • June 1 - 600 block of Seventh Street, Apt. D
    • 11:49 p.m.
    • Not gang-related
    • Suspect unknown
  • June 2 - 3800 block of Towne Point Road
    • 3 p.m.
    • Unknown if gang-related, but targeted incident
  • June 2 - 2400 block of Staunton Avenue
    • 9:16 p.m.
    • Believed to be gang-related
    • Shootout between two vehicles, victim caught in crossfire
    • Unknown suspects
  • June 2 - 1100 block of Virginia Avenue
    • 11 p.m.
    • Self-inflicted gunshot wound
    • Juvenile victim
  • June 2 - Alden Avenue/Emmons Place
    • 10:55 p.m.
    • Argument that resulted in shooting
    • Unknown suspects
  • June 4 - 2000 block of County Street
    • 3:31 p.m.
    • Unknown if gang-related, suspect is gang affiliated
    • Warrants on file for Arionta Anthony Blount
  • June 4 - 3300 block of Dartmouth Street
    • 10:52 p.m.
    • Warrant on file for Riddle
  • June 5 - 1800 block of Effingham Street
    • 2:25 p.m.
    • Possibly gang-related
    • Victim caught in crossfire
  • June 6 - 4500 block of George Washington Highway
    • 5:06 p.m.
    • Homicide
    • Victim was a suspect in a previous shooting from last year
    • Possible retaliation, domestic-related
  • June 7 - 1000 block of Seventh Street
    • 6:58 a.m.
    • Not gang-related
    • Warrant on file for Whitaker
  • June 7 - 1600 block of Maple Avenue
    • 9:36 a.m.
    • Triple homicide
    • Ongoing investigation, motive unknown

There were few details given out about Tuesday morning's shooting. No arrests have been made, and no suspect information is available.

Chief Prince said they're working to get in touch with the victims' family members and say officials are in the early stages of the investigation.

The chief said police are being aggressive and active in the investigations, but said the community is not giving them leads. He said while he understands the fear of retaliation, he also said if people are "ready and angry enough," police are here to solve these cases.

"We're missing one piece. We’re missing the action of our citizens. Somebody listening knows what led to a shooting. Somebody listening knows who a shooter was. Somebody listening has not yet been affected by the violence of our city," Chief Prince said. "Don’t wait for it to be your turn before you decide to open your mouth and say something."

Prince also expressed frustration about his officers and other departments arresting five people in connection with firearms violations but were let out of jail and are now wanted again for several crimes.

Related: 5 'armed and dangerous' & 'gang-affiliated' men wanted by Portsmouth Police

A man who lives inside that home where the shooting happened tells News 3 reporter Leondra Head that he and others were renting rooms inside of the home. He says something didn’t feel right and says he left the house early Tuesday morning before the shooting.

"Jesus told me to leave. I left! God said, 'Leave, because something is going to happen.' I could feel it," Justine Mills said.

Mills says he’s lived in the house for 11 months. He tells us at least two of the people shot and killed lived inside the home and rented rooms inside the home. He says at times, the house was rowdy with unknown visitors.

"They have people coming in and out this house all night long that I don’t know. You don’t know how them people thinking," Mills said

He says it was hard for him to sleep at times with people in and out.

News 3 also spoke to Shecora Lee, the sister of one of the victims, who told us her younger brother, Georgio Devontae Lee, graduated from Poquoson High School and worked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard as a welder. She said she had been trying to reach her brother all day.

"I'm just lost for words right now. I'm devastated. We see this every day - every day. Every time we turn on the news, someone's shot, someone's dead, but we don't never prepare ourselves. What if it's us? And I wasn't prepared for this, not at all. He didn't deserve this," Shecora said.

Shecora said she regrets not telling her brother that she loved him.

"I just saw him the other day and I just said, 'Hey, how ya doing?' but I forgot to tell him I love him. I forgot to tell him I love him, and that's what hurts the most," she continued. "You gotta say, 'I love you.' You gotta say, 'I love you just because you never know when it's somebody's last moments."

Sister of Portsmouth mass shooting victim at a loss for words

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's spokesperson, Macaulay Porter, issued this statement on the recent gun violence:

The governor remains committed to curbing violent crime and ensuring the safety of Virginians. He has engaged with community leaders, law enforcement, and Portsmouth officials through his Violent Crime Task Force, which met on May 26th in Portsmouth to discuss effective programs and initiatives that combat violent crime. The administration, Secretary Mosier and our partner city Portsmouth are consistently communicating and coordinating to address the shooting and violent crime trends.
Macaulay Porter, spokesperson for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin

In response to the recent violence, the Portsmouth Police Department will host a Community Walk at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. During the walk, officers will engage with citizens "to have candid conversations while identifying and addressing quality of life concerns." Those interested in attending should meet at the Toddler Time Development Center at 603 Hansen Avenue.

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Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover stopped by the News 3 studio early Wednesday morning to talk about the recent gun violence in the city. You can see the full interview with the News 3 This Morning team below:

Portsmouth mayor addresses latest violence

Related: 'We keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome': State Sen. Louise Lucas calls for stronger police presence in wake of recent gun violence