NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Newport News Police are asking for public assistance in identifying a suspect in connection to a recent homicide and robbery investigation.
The suspect in question can be seen on security camera footage entering a convenience store wearing a black hoodie with a mask over his face and weapon in hand.
Eric Hansen is trying to process what happened at the 7-Eleven he and his girlfriend frequently visit on Kiln Creek Parkway.
“It was pretty hard to believe. I was pretty shaken up,” Hansen said. “My girlfriend, Molly, loved it a lot because it's a really cool place to get slushies.”
The suspect is in connection with a double homicide and robbery that took place on Wednesday, June 15. Two men were found inside of a business with gunshot wounds and later pronounced dead on the scene.
“My girlfriend from Australia, she's pretty beaten up about this," Hansen said. "This is her first big, like, American-style crime that she's been anywhere near."
Police have released the following surveillance footage capturing footage of the suspect below:
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew hopes these images and video create a conversation as memorials for both men killed continue to grow.
"Anyone who takes two peoples lives is a dangerous individual," Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said. "I don't think that the neighborhood was being targeted. I think that store was. The two individuals that lost their life were very much invested in the community, and the community were invested in them."
Tuesday, Chief Drew held an open, online conversation with residents addressing this incident, recent gun violence and overall crime in the city.
According to Drew, the City of Newport News had 12 homicides this time last year. So far this year, there have been 11 homicides, including the double homicide at the 7-Eleven.
Of those 11 homicides, five are domestic-related. Drew added the majority of homicides have happened inside homes or businesses.
He mentioned it's important for you to speak up if you hear gunshots.
"One of the things I worry about when we talk about shootings and shots fired is, 'Well, someone else will call. I don't want to get involved,'" Drew said. "We're not going to come and knock on your door and [say], 'Hey, are you the one that called?' We're not singling anyone out. But, what we're trying to do is get some timeframe and understanding location, times, day of the week."
Drew also mentioned in his conversation with residents Tuesday that the city is seeing a drop in aggravated assaults.
Newport News Police Department is asking that anyone who can identify this person or who knows anything about the incident please call Det. Rogers at 757–928–4219. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to the Crime Line at 1–888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887) or online at P3Tips.com.
The investigation is ongoing.