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Police chief says fight over spilled drink led to shooting that killed 2 people, including reporter Sierra Jenkins

Shots fired: America's epidemic of gun violence
Shots fired: America's epidemic of gun violence 10:46

An argument over a spilled drink led to a shooting that killed two people, including a reporter, and injured three others outside a downtown Norfolk restaurant and bar over the weekend, according to the city's police chief.

Chief Larry Boone told the Downtown Norfolk Civic League on Monday night that the argument began inside Chicho's Pizza Backstage early Saturday, but ended with a shooting outside, news outlets reported. Sierra Jenkins, 25, a reporter  for The Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, and Devon Harris, 25, of Portsmouth, were caught in the line of fire and killed, police said. Three others were injured.

Jenkins was assigned to cover breaking news on Saturday, the newspaper reported, and when an editor initially learned of the shooting, he called Jenkins multiple times to ask her to go to the scene — not realizing Jenkins was one of the shooting victims.

Shopping Center Shooting Vigil
Photos of Sierra Jenkins are displayed during a vigil Sunday, March 20, 2022, at Granby High School in Norfolk, Va. Jenkins, a reporter for the Virginian-Pilot died at a Norfolk hospital after being shot during a shooting early Saturday outside a restaurant and bar.  Stephen M. Katz / AP

Her close friend, Demmi Nimer, was with Jenkins when gunfire erupted. "I'm devastated," Nimer told the newspaper by text message. "I was with her when everything happened and just wish I could've done more to help her."

Dozens of family members and friends gathered at Granby High School in Norfolk Sunday night for a vigil to honor Jenkins, the newspaper reported.

Jenkins grew up in Norfolk and graduated from Georgia State University. She worked as an intern at Atlanta Magazine and CNN before joining The Pilot in December 2020.

"This is another incident in which conflict resolution did not exist," Boone said.

Investigators do not have solid leads on a suspect, but Boone said he is "cautiously optimistic" they will make an arrest based on where the shooting occurred.

Witnesses were still being interviewed and reward money is being considered, Boone said.

The early Saturday shooting in downtown Norfolk was just one incident in a violent 20-hour stretch in Hampton Roads that left at least 15 people shot, four of them fatally, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Despite a staffing shortage, stepped-up patrols will begin Thursday for better peace-of-mind downtown, Boone said. Extra personnel will come from specialty units to complement officers who patrol the downtown area, he said.

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