5 women shot, 3 killed in Norfolk; 19-year-old suspect identified

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Three women were killed and two were injured in the Young Terrace neighborhood in Norfolk Wednesday night in what police are calling a mass shooting.

Police Chief Larry Boone told 10 On Your Side’s Michelle Wolf that five women were shot and three of them died. They were identified as 42-year-old Detra R. Brown, of Suffolk, 45-year-old Nicole Lovewine, of Norfolk, and 44-year-old Sara E. Costine, of Lithonia, Georgia.

The two injured women, a 39-year-old and 19-year-old, were taken to the hospital and are expected to be OK. On Thursday afternoon, Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander said one of the victims had been released from the hospital.

Ziontay Brian Ricardo Palmer (Courtesy of Norfolk Police Department)

In an update around 10:25 p.m. Wednesday, police said the man who shot the women had been taken into custody. He was identified on Thursday morning as 19-year-old Ziontay Brian Ricardo Palmer, of Virginia Beach.

He was arraigned in Norfolk General District Court Thursday morning on three counts of second-degree murder, one count of malicious wounding and four counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Palmer is being held in jail without bond. He is scheduled for a competency motion hearing on Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. in courtroom 2C at the Norfolk Courthouse.

According to police, the shooting happened around 6 p.m. Wednesday in the 800 block of Whitaker Lane.

A preliminary investigation revealed that Palmer shot the 19-year-old woman first, then shot the four other women as they tried to help her, Boone said.

10 On Your Side has learned Palmer had a relationship with the 19-year-old woman.

WAVY News 10’s Andy Fox returned to the community Thursday and spoke with several witnesses to the shooting.

A neighbor who didn’t want to be identified recounted some of what she saw.

“Nothing they could do. They were shot execution-style. They had just come home from work,” the neighbor said.

An eyewitness said Palmer allegedly shot his 19-year-old girlfriend in the shoulder after they got out of a car. Then as her mother, Lovewine, was approaching the car, he shot her and her friend “Dee” Brown, killing both of them, the eyewitness said. The neighbor who lived across the walkway, Costine, responded to the gunfire and was shot and killed, too.

“The young lady was in the back and the gentleman shot her, and then he approached the mom and her girlfriend and shot them and then two neighbors who tried to help he shot them too,” the neighbor said.

The neighbor reached out to help.

“I helped one girl right here. She was bleeding to death, I told her ‘Don’t move, stay still, paramedics are coming.’ I had a towel trying to help her,” they said.

The community has put up a memorial for those killed: stuffed animals, balloons, words like “Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and families.”

Neighbor Sashina Perry had tears in her eyes as she spoke to us.

“Mothers, women, babies left without mothers… This is not the stock we come from. This is not who we are. This is not who we are,” she said.

“Nicole was a sweet girl,” said another neighbor who did not want to be named, referring to Lovewine. “Nicole would come and go to work. When she’d get off work she’d come straight in to the house. She never bothered nobody. When you see Nicole, you saw Dee [Detra]; they were always together, wherever they went. When they left out in the morning to go to work they were together when they came home from work They were together.”

At the shooting scene Wednesday night, WAVY spoke with a man who identified himself as Mike Pain. He said he is a part of the Original Black Panther Militia. Pain also said one of their members was related to a victim and that’s why they came out to show support for the community.

“Of course when a tragedy happens, we show up as well, not just for the bad times but the good times. It’s a horrible thing that’s happened,” he said.

Norfolk Police Chief Boone called the suspect a coward.

Boone participated in a community support walk in the 800 block of Whitaker Lane Thursday at 1 p.m.

“This has to stop. We need to start speaking up because this, I’ve never seen this in my 30-year career: five women shot. This nonsense has to stop and this idea that everybody can be saved, that’s gone by the way of the dodo bird,” Boone said.

Young Terrace is part of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA), which owns and manages assisted-rental units throughout Norfolk.

NRHA issued a statement Thursday about the deadly shooting.

The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) is devastated by the fatal shootings in our Young Terrace community on Wednesday night. We are committed to supporting all of our residents and the families impacted by this terrible incident.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our families in Young Terrace. We are committed to
supporting our you during this difficult time, and we are taking this time to work on
healing in the Young Terrace community.

NRHA staff is currently going door-to-door this morning to ensure neighbors have access
to counseling services needed to work through the trauma experienced last night.

Counselors are available for walk-in appointments at the Young Terrace community
center this week.

For families seeking support for domestic violence, people can call the VA Family
Violence Hotline at 1-800-838- 8238.

The Stop the Violence team is asking community members to join them in the Youngs Terrace Community on Saturday, November 6 at 2 p.m. to speak out against the violence.

A GoFundMe page has also been started to benefit Costine’s family. Click here to view the fundraiser.

Stay on WAVY.com for the latest updates.

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