Young Black journalist caught in shooting crossfire, killed

Sierra Jenkins was 25-years-old.

Sierra Jenkins, a talented young Black reporter for the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, died after being caught in the crossfire of a shooting outside a popular Norfolk nightspot. She was 25.

“Sierra was a bright and talented woman with so much going for her,” Kris Worrell, editor-in-chief of the Pilot and Daily Press, said in a story for the Pilot.

“Her passion for journalism was undeniable and our community is better because of her reporting,” she said. “Sierra was funny and energetic and full of enthusiasm. We are absolutely heartbroken.”

According to her family, Jenkins and her best friend were at a pizza restaurant called Chicho’s. 

Bartenders made the last call announcement at 1:30 a.m. A manager told the Pilot he heard an argument as people started to leave, which was soon followed by gunfire. 

Five people were shot, including Jenkins, who the Pilot said later died at an area hospital. 

Another man, 25-year-old Devon Harris, died at the scene. Three others were injured.

The National Association of Black Journalists was among the many mourning her death.

Maurice Jenkins, Sierra’s dad, said his daughter loved being a journalist.

“She wasn’t much of a going-out kind of person at all,” Maurice told the Pilot. “But her best friend was in town and the two decided to go out together. They had been friends since middle school and Jenkins was godmother to her friend’s daughter.”

Brian Root, Jenkins’ editor, praised her passion for journalism.  

“I have been very fortunate in my career that I’ve worked with several people who went on to become rock stars in our business, so I know them when I see them, and Sierra was on the way to becoming a rock star,” Root told the Washington Post. “It’s all about willingness and work ethic, and good god, she had that. And it hurts to talk about her in the past tense.”

Jenkins, a Norfolk native, attended Georgia State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in Dec. 2019. She joined the Pilot in Dec. 2020 after stints as an intern at Atlanta Magazine and CNN.

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