Two men were killed and a third wounded late Saturday night in what Petersburg police believe are related shootings.
Earlier Saturday, a house was shot up - for the second time in days - in nearby Prince George County, just weeks after federal, state and local law enforcement leaders held a summit meeting hoping to stem violence in the Tri-Cities area.
Police could not be immediately reached for comment on whether the Petersburg and Prince George incidents were believed related, but both agencies are asking the public for help in their investigations.
A spokesman for the Petersburg Police Department said officers were called around 10:21 p.m. to Courthouse Street for the report of a person shot. Police found a man with a life-threatening gunshot wound at the scene who was sent to an area hospital where he later died.
Meanwhile, while officers were at the hospital, a man with a non life-threatening gunshot wound showed up for treatment. While the second victim was being treated a third victim arrived with life threatening injuries who later died.
"Police are currently working a death investigation into both deaths and the shooting which are related and are asking for help from the public," said police in a Tweet.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Petersburg/Dinwiddie Crime Solvers at 804-861-1212, or by downloading P3tips app or by going to P3tips.com.
At 3:37 a.m. Saturday numerous shots were fired into an occupied house in the 12000 block of Johnson Road in Prince George County. The same house was hit by gunfire earlier in the week.
Police responded to the same home just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday and recovered about 11 casings from shots that were fired into the house. People were inside the home both nights, but no injuries were reported either time.
A neighbor fired several shots into the suspect’s vehicle in the road Saturday, police said. The vehicle was described as a black pickup truck and the driver quickly fled the area. Police said it’s unclear whether the vehicle or anyone inside it was struck by the gunfire.
Prince George detectives did not have a suspect identified as of Saturday afternoon and are asking anyone with information to contact the Prince George Police Department at (804) 733-2773 or Crime Solvers at (804) 733-2777 or through the P3 Tips app.
Just last month top law enforcement officials met in Petersburg to in an effort to address Tr-Cities gun violence, removing firearms from the streets, the opioid epidemic and human trafficking.
In attendance were representatives from Petersburg, Hopewell, Prince George and Chesterfield counties as well the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Virginia State Police, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority police and Virginia State University police all attended and pledged varying degrees of support.
Last year Petersburg was the most murder-prone locality in Virginia, per capira. The city had 17 homicides in 2018 — a record for this city of 32,000 — which equates to about 53 killings per 100,000 people. Petersburg has ranked in the top three statewide in per capita homicides since at least 2013.
Five people were slain in March and April, two people were killed in July and four people were shot during a six-hour period in late August in Peterburg. Hopewell, a city of about 22,000, ranked third in the state last year in per capita homicides.