Three arrested in Virginia fatal shooting of new mom, infant daughter

Sharnez Hill and her newborn daughter were killed in what police say was a shootout between rival groups

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A shootout in a Richmond, Virginia apartment complex claimed the lives of a 30-year-old woman and her three-month-old daughter on Tuesday. Sharnez Hill and her daughter Neziah were two of five bystanders who were shot, the other three – a 29-year-old woman, and two girls ages 11 and 15, are in stable condition.  

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The shooting took place at approximately 6:30 p.m. in a courtyard within the Belt Atlantic apartment complex in South Richmond. On Wednesday, Hill’s family and friends made a memorial in the courtyard where Hill was slain. Her daughter passed away shortly afterward.

“This is what’s making it so sad right now. All she wanted to do was have a baby and be a mother, and finally she gets to be a mother — and this happens,” Rev. Donte McCutchen, Hill’s cousin and pastor of Love Cathedral Community Church, told the Richmond Times Dispatch. McCutchen spoke to the joy that being a mother brought Hil.

“She said her baby was her best friend.” 

On Wednesday, Richmond police held a press conference where they confirmed the arrests of 22-year-old Donald Hemmings, 23-year-old Shyheem Martin, and 19-year-old Shamondrick Perry, who were charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Sharnez Hill (social media)

“We know that there was a group of perpetrators who began shooting. That first group of perpetrators, we believe are the ones who actually struck these five innocent victims,” Gerald Smith, Richmond’s police chief, said. “And there was another group, on another side, that actually returned fire. At this point in time, we don’t believe they actually struck anybody.”

Smith went on to explain the seriousness of the crossfire occurring in the apartment complex’s courtyards where children were playing, adding  “the most precious asset that any community has was in that courtyard.” 

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also spoke.

“I want the residents in Belt Atlantic to know that this is not about them. This is about a small percentage of people who choose to have no regard for human life and the Richmond Police department will do everything it can to bring those perpetrators to justice,” said Stoney. 

“I have no idea and I will never understand why this sort of gunplay occurs so much in our communities, and although there’s been progress made with laws at the state and local levels, still firearms find their way into our communities far too often.”

The Richmond Police department is asking for anyone who has information about the shooting to come forward. They can call Major Crimes detective Russell at 804- 646-7715 or contact Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

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