Newport News community, family remember young mother shot and killed

mother vigil
Posted at 10:51 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 13:59:50-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Flowers now sit outside Evita Wilkins’ apartment window in her memory.

Family and neighbors gathered outside her Aqueduct Drive home Monday, where Newport News Police said she was shot and killed hours earlier.

Wilkins’ older sister, Sharon Knight, said the 27-year-old was outgoing and loved to make others laugh.

“If she was here, there would be laughter,” said Knight. “She would make sure everybody’s smiling, thinking about the good times. She was just the life of the party. The smallest one; the youngest one, but definitely the life of the party.”

Wilkins’ cousin, Shaquanna Barksdale, got choked up as she remembered Wilkins' fun-loving spirit.

“Goofy, fun. She was full of life,” Barksdale said, holding back tears.

Just before 2:30 Sunday morning, police said they were called to the neighborhood to find Wilkins with serious injuries. She was taken to the hospital, where she later died.

Police are remaining tight-lipped on details.

Family members have set up a Gofundme to help with funeral expenses. Click here to view that page.

Less than 24 hours after Wilkins’ death, police were going door to door gathering information from neighbors to help piece together what led up to the homicide.

“We don't just come to a scene, process a scene, gather evidence and take interviews and we leave. We have a vested interest,” said Capt. Terrence Dunbar with the Newport News Police Department. “We show you that we're here the day before, the day of and the day after. We are here with you because this is our city as well. We want to make it safe for everyone.”

At the vigil, Wilkins’ mother was being comforted by loved ones. She told News 3 she’s too grief-stricken for an interview.

Loved ones said Wilkins herself was a loving mother who now leaves behind two sons: A 3-year-old and 5-year-old.

Her family is now trying to make sense of the senseless, violent act.

“It don’t make sense,” said Barksdale. “There’s no reason why you should have did it. Took her away from her family, her kids, so it’s no reason.”

Wilkins’ sister agreed.

“She was small,” Knight said. “I’m small, but she was smaller than me. There was no reason for even to kill her.”

As the family prays for justice and grapples with their loss, they say Wilkins will not be forgotten.

“She had an impact on everybody,” Knight said. “Anybody she’d meet, she definitely had an impact on them. You would definitely remember her."

Police said this is the second homicide in the Aqueduct Drive neighborhood this year.

No arrests have been made in connection with Wilkins’ death. Police said this is an ongoing investigation and don’t believe the suspect is a danger to anyone else in this neighborhood. In the meantime, they will continue patrolling the neighborhood.

There is no suspect information at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call the crime line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887) or go online at