At least three women are dead and two others are injured after what police believe was a domestic mass shooting Wednesday at a housing development in Norfolk, Virginia.
The gunman shot one woman outside around 6 p.m. during an apparent domestic incident, according to Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone. Boone told local news station WTKR that the suspect fled after shooting the first woman.
When four other women tried to help the victim, the gunman returned and also shot them, Boone said.
And the first shooting victim and two others who tried to help her died. The two other women who were injured were taken to a local hospital, officials said.
Detra R. Brown, 42, of Suffolk, Nicole Lovewine, 45, of Norfolk, and Sara E. Costine, 44, of Lithonia, Georgia, were killed, the Norfolk Police Department said Thursday. The 39-year-old woman and a 19-year-old woman who were transported to the hospital were not identified. Police said both were expected to recover and had non-life threatening injuries.
The Norfolk Police Department announced in a Tweet that the suspect was arrested Wednesday night. He was identified Thursday as Ziontay BR Palmer, 19, of Virginia Beach. The chief called the suspect a “coward.”
Palmer is charged with three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of malicious injury, and five counts of gun use, and is being held without obligation, according to police.
Every year, domestic violence kills nearly 1,300 people across the United States, according to the Emory University School of Medicine.
This news takes place in the evening:For an update later this evening, join the Evening Conference.
Most mass shootings relate to domestic violence, according to a 2021 study published in the Journal of Injury Epidemiology. The perpetrators found that 59.1% of mass shootings between 2014 and 2019 were related to domestic violence, and in 68.2% of mass shootings, the perpetrator either killed at least one partner or family member or had a history of domestic violence.
2020 saw both an increase in homicides and domestic violence as households sheltered during the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 878 victims died because of their spouse or romantic partner last year, according to the FBI.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have been victims of intimate partner violence during their lifetime, which it defines as rape, physical violence, or violence. More than ten million Americans experience domestic violence each year, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates.
Nearly 9 out of 10 incidents of domestic violence occur in the victim’s home or the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The majority of domestic violence occurs in the victim’s home.
In a press conference Thursday, Boone denounced gun violence in color communities and said more than 1,000 murders have occurred in Norfolk in the past 30 years.
“I’m so sick and tired of saying the same old, same old,” he said.