Two men were killed and a third was wounded late Saturday in what Petersburg police believe are related shootings.
Earlier Saturday, a house was shot up — for the second time in less than a week — in nearby Prince George County, just days after federal, state and local law enforcement leaders held a summit meeting hoping to stem violence in the Tri-Cities area.
Police could not immediately be reached to comment on Sunday about whether the Petersburg and Prince George incidents were believed to be connected, but both police departments are asking the public for help in their investigations.
A spokesman for the Petersburg Police Department said officers were called at 10:21 p.m. to Courthouse Street for a report of a person shot. Officers found a man with a life-threatening gunshot wound at the scene, and he was sent to a hospital, where he died.
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 and 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,” police in a tweet.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Petersburg/Dinwiddie Crime Solvers by calling (804) 861-1212 or by downloading the P3 Tips app or by going to P3tips.com.
At 3:37 a.m. on Saturday, numerous shots were fired into an occupied house in the 12000 block of Johnson Road in Prince George. Police had 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 on 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 were 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 week, top law enforcement officials met in Petersburg to address Tri-Cities gun violence, the opioid epidemic and human trafficking.
In attendance were representatives from Petersburg, Hopewell and Prince George and Chesterfield counties, as well as the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the FBI; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Department of Homeland Security; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the U.S. Marshals Service; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Virginia State Police; the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority police; and the Virginia State University police.
Last year, Petersburg was the most murder-prone locality in Virginia, per capita. The city had 17 homicides in 2018 — a record for the city of 32,000 — which equates to about 53 killings per 100,000 people. Petersburg consistently 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 Petersburg.
Hopewell, a city of about 22,000, ranked third in the state last year in per capita homicides.