An 82-year-old woman was shot while lying in bed early Tuesday morning when bullets pierced walls and windows of her home during an eruption of gunfire that damaged two other houses on a normally quiet street in Henrico County.
The gunfire unfolded shortly before 3 a.m. and struck the three homes and a car in the 1800 block of Watts Lane, located east of Mechanicsville Turnpike and south of Harvie Road.
Vanessa Rice takes care of three older women at the house where the 82-year-old was shot in her left arm while she was in her first-floor bedroom. The gunshot broke a bone, but she was expected to recover and to undergo surgery later in the day, Rice said Tuesday.
Rice had been sleeping upstairs when the shooting started. She called 911 and went down the steps and turned on the light in the bedroom where the woman had been wounded. The victim was in her bed and said her arm was wet and it was hurting.
“All these gunshots were in her wall,” said Rice, who broke into tears as she recounted the ordeal. “I tried to keep everybody calm.”
Clarence Washington, whose mother owns the house, said the bullet that pierced the woman’s arm apparently lodged in her bed frame. Rescue personnel moved her from the bed to an ambulance and took her to the hospital, he said.
“She was just in good spirits, saying, ‘Why did this happen? Why are they shooting me?’” Washington said in an interview at the house.
The victim’s friends said they did not want the woman’s name to be released in the media.
Around midday on Tuesday, a hole could be seen in the bed frame where Washington said the police had extracted the bullet. At least three other holes were visible in the bedroom wall, and a window was damaged. The covers on the bed were stained with blood.
Another window on the front of the house had also been pierced, and some of the glass in the front door had shattered.
When Rice opened the front door after the explosion of gunfire, “the whole glass just fell out,” she said. Upstairs, there are more bullet holes in the walls.
The residents of the home and other neighbors were visibly shaken in interviews on Tuesday. They also were grateful no one was killed.
“We’re very thankful,” Rice said. “We’re very blessed.”
But they were having trouble making sense of what happened. They noted that most of the residents on the block are seniors, and the Henrico police said they had not received any other reports of gunfire on that block this year.
“Why would you all do that?” asked Lottie King, who owns the house in which the woman was injured, addressing whoever opened gunfire. “Please stop. Leave people alone. Leave us alone. Why are you all doing this?”
“They shot my car up,” added King, who is 71.
Another neighbor, 64-year-old Daisy Nickens, said God was looking out for them.
“We’re just grateful that it wasn’t any worse,” she said.
Two doors down from the house where the woman was shot, Vivian Carrington recounted how she had heard too many gunshots to count on Tuesday morning. At first she thought it was fireworks, but her son came downstairs and said someone was shooting. Then her son turned on a light and saw a bullet had punched through a window in the side of the house.
“It makes you nervous,” Carrington said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Rice said the police told her and other residents that as many as 40 shots may have been fired during the incident. But a police spokeswoman would not confirm that number, citing the ongoing investigation, and she did not release any information Tuesday about what may have prompted the gunfire.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the police at (804) 501-5000 or Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. Residents also can also download the P3 Tips app to their mobile devices and submit their tip. Both Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.