Family, friends remember service members killed in Virginia double murder-suicide

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — All three people who died in Saturday night’s double murder-suicide by the 7-Eleven on Effingham Street were all members of the military.

The victims, 19-year-old Shianne Soles and 23-year-old Meaghan Burns, worked at Naval Station Medical Center in Portsmouth.

Police believe the shooter, 22-year-old Donovan Moora, killed them before killing himself. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

This is a hard situation for everyone involved. While police are still investigating the details that led up to the incident, friends and family of the victims and shooter say this was totally unexpected.

Moora’s brother Brian Gopee was shocked. 

“I’m disappointed to know you reach so far in life, and where you come from so far in life, to you know to throw everything away,” said Gopee.

He said this should never have happened.

“That he really loved his job, and for him to do such things, something real bad had to trigger him, something real bad, cause he is nothing like what went on. He is nothing like what went on,” he added.

Friends of the women believe there was something more going on, and if they had a choice, they would never put themselves in a dangerous situation.

“The fear that she must have experienced and for her friend also, I can only think that she probably wanted to protect her friend and her friend probably wanted to protect her,” said Soles’ family friend J’aime Kirlew.

In a statement, one friend said in regards to Meaghan: “I’ve known Meaghan most of her Navy career. She was an amazing woman and loved to travel. She was loved by friends, family, and coworkers alike. She always treated people kindly. What happened to her and her friend is a tragedy.”

Another said, “Meaghan was a wonderful person; she always put others before herself and had an open heart. I only knew her for a short time in California, but she became family to me and a few others. She will be missed.”

Kirlew added that Soles had just started her career and had big dreams.

“She was a great girl, very sweet, very kind. Everything I knew about her, young lots of aspirations,” Kirlew said.

Shianne’s family released a statement: 

“Shianne Taylor Soles was a bright light that would flood the room wherever she went. Her smile was contagious and her laughter was infectious. She was a friend to everyone that met her and never turned down anyone that needed help day or night. She touched the lives of many. She had a passion to be a part of something bigger. Something where she could help make the world a better place. This led her to pursue a career in the Navy as a Corpsman, beginning her career at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth VA.

Her desire to excel in everything she did led her to many different adventures. From dance to cheer, track and work, school and Navy, she excelled in all that she did. She was driven, focused, and brave until her light faded too soon.

There are no words that can describe the pain we feel or the pain that we see within our support group around us.  The words we have received have stretched far and wide and we cannot thank everyone enough.

Thank you for respecting our need for privacy during this time of mourning.”

Witnesses say it’s a moment they’ll never forget.

“I went running across the street and looked in the car and there was two females laid over both dead in the car, and a bunch of bullet holes in the windows,” said witness Robert Joyner.

A Bureau of Medicine and Surgery spokesman says Hospitalman Burns enlisted in September 2015 and is from Massachusetts, while Hospitalman Soles enlisted in July 2018 and is from Washington state.

Hospital Apprentice Moora enlisted in November 2017 and is from New York.

They added mental health professionals and chaplains are at each location to assist anyone dealing with the grief and difficult nature of this tragedy. 

The Portsmouth Police Department has jurisdiction and is investigating the incident with assistance from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. For further information, please contact local authorities.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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