At least two people have been killed and eight more wounded in yet another US shooting spree in the eastern city of Virginia Beach as police authorities declared the arrest of three suspects in apparent multiple shootings.
The eight surviving victims in the Friday night shootings were transported to area hospitals with injuries ranging from serious to life-threatening, police department of the beachfront city announced on Saturday.
Police officials further identified the male suspects arrested for the shootings as 18-year-old Nyquez Tyyon Baker and 20-year-old Devon Maurice Dorsey of Virginia Beach and 22-year-old Ahmon Jahree Adams of Chesapeake, charging them with felonious assault and reckless shooting in just one of Friday night's three shootings.
Multiple roads were blocked off throughout the night while police investigated the shooting incidents.
Virginia Beach is among popular destinations for US-based college students during their spring break vacations who ignore warnings by health authorities about the spread of the COVID-19 virus as the country continues to lead the world in both the number of infections and fatalities – which currently stands at over 30,212,000 and nearly 549,000 mark, respectively.
The three suspects taken into custody so far, however, do not face charges in the other shootings, including one where a bystander was killed and another where an officer encountered an armed man and fatally shot him, police noted.
In what has been described by the city’s police chief as a "very chaotic night at the beach," multiple officers responded to the first scene on Atlantic Avenue and 20th Street at about 11:20 p.m.
"The preliminary investigation indicates that a group of individuals were involved in some type of conflict that resulted in a physical fight," police declared in a statement. "At some point during the physical altercation, several individuals produced firearms and began shooting at each other, resulting in numerous people being wounded." found
While on that scene, police officers heard more gunfire and discovered an additional shooting victim in the nearby 19th Street, according to the police department. That victim, Deshayla E. Harris, 29, of Norfolk, died at the scene.
It appears to be "a separate shooting incident that we're still trying to piece together," Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate said.
Around the same time, an officer opened fire after encountering an armed man, police added, identifying the victim as 25-year-old Donovon Lynch of Virginia Beach. No other details, including what kind of weapon Lynch was carrying or how many times the officer shot him, have yet been released.
The latest shooting incidents came amid a series of mass shootings in recent weeks across the US, prompting renewed debates among lawmakers and elected officials on gun reform legislation.
Earlier this month, a shooting spree at multiple Atlanta spas left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent, sparking growing concerns from many amid a spike in anti-Asian violence across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the Western city of Boulder in Colorado, a shooting at a King Soopers grocery store last Monday left 10 people killed.
Police said that the 21-year-old suspect in the Colorado shooting used an AR-15 assault rifle that he had purchased just six days prior to the attack.