ISLE OF WIGHT Co., Va. - One man is dead and another is on the run following a workplace shooting at Safco Products warehouse on Route 460 just outside of Windsor Thursday afternoon.
The Isle of Wight County Sheriff's Office confirmed to News 3 that the shooting happened at 2:20 p.m.
Deputies and officers from the Windsor Police Department responded to the scene and found the male victim suffering from a gunshot wound.
He was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries while en route to the hospital.
Authorities have identified the suspect as 23-year-old Preston Kyle Thomas.
Later in the evening, Captain T. Potter of the Isle of Wight Sheriff's Office confirmed the shooting is now being investigated as a homicide.
Earlier, authorities believed the suspect may have barricaded himself inside a residence at the Eagle Harbor Apartments in the 300 block of Sanctuary Cove Way, the suspect's last known address, in Carrollton.
When deputies arrived at the apartment complex, they saw a vehicle belonging to the suspect that was seen leaving the scene of the shooting. Additional information led investigators to believe the suspect may have been at that location.
"This afternoon, the first deputy was patrolling the Eagle Harbor Apartments and around 10 minutes after 3:00 p.m. and spotted our suspect vehicle here in the apartments," said Capt. Tommy Potter with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office."
Thomas, the suspect, is a temp worker at Safco. Deputies tried several times to make contact with Thomas, and the sheriff's office called for help from the Virginia State Police Special Response Team to execute a search warrant at the apartment, but he wasn't there.
Thomas is still not in custody and is considered to be armed and dangerous.
“We know that Mr. Thomas has ties to Isle of Wight County, as well as ties to the Hampton and Newport News area,” Potter said. “We’ll continue to look for the whereabouts of Mr. Thomas.”
Authorities identified the victim as 26-year-old Rakim Breedin, also a temp worker, from Como, North Carolina. His family has been notified of his death.
The sheriff's office says the incident started from an altercation between Thomas and Breedin outside the warehouse. Then, Breedin went back inside.
Thomas is believed to have gotten a handgun at that point (or may have already had it on him) and then went inside warehouse. That's when deputies say the two got into another fight and Thomas shot Breedin.
"The Sheriff, myself, we have extreme confidence in our investigators and I know that they will not rest until this individual is behind bars and justice is for the Breedin family," Potter said.
During the barricade, a total of 14 apartments were evacuated.
The flurry of activity shocked neighbors, including Lauren Harrison who’s lived in the complex for three years.
“I was nervous,” Harrison said. “I've never seen anything like this in our neighborhood because our neighborhood is really quiet. We're very close knit. We know everyone out here basically, so I never expected anything like this to happen.”
Harrison said she was waiting for her daughter’s elementary school bus when she saw officers running with guns drawn.
“When they started doing all this, that was the first thing that came to my mind was thinking about my child’s safety,” she said.
The sheriff's office has a felony arrest warrant out for Thomas for second degree murder. Additional charges are expected.
Thomas has a previous record of a firearms charge.
Officials are going to continue the search for Thomas.
If you know where Thomas may be, you are asked to contact the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887) or submit tip via that the P3Tips app or at P3tips.com by searching for the Isle of Wight/Smithfield/Windsor Crime Line.
UPDATE: Isle of Wight County deputies are still dealing with a barricade situation at Eagle Harbor Apartments in Carrollton, trying to reach the suspect accused of shooting & killing a man at Safco Products warehouse earlier this afternoon. @WTKR3 pic.twitter.com/laHYPZd3Rg— Antoinette DelBel (@AnnieDelBel) September 23, 2021