UPDATE: Belvidere homicide victim not intended target

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Police have released new information about the murder of an Ashland man in downtown Richmond this past weekend.

It turns out William O. Ennis III, 29, was an innocent bystander when he was shot in his car while driving down Belvidere Street near Virginia Commonwealth University.

With the help of the community, investigators now have these more detailed suspect descriptions:

  • Suspect one is described as a black male, 18 to 25 years of age, approximately 5'9" tall with a medium brown complexion and a thin build. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and dark-colored shorts.
  • Suspect two is described as a black male, 18 to 25 years of age, approximately 5'9" with dark skin. He was last seen wearing a reddish-colored t-shirt and dark shorts.
  • Suspect three is described as a black male, approximately 5'11" with dark skin. He was last seen wearing dark-colored shorts and white crew socks.

Ennis was a good student. He was a hard worker, a boyfriend and a son. He was also not the intended target of the shot that ended his life.

"There was no sense in this," said his father Bill Ennis.

Late Tuesday, Richmond Police revealed they believe the shooting was not random. The gunman was aiming for someone else; and Ennis got caught in the line of fire. For his father, the news from detectives makes the loss of his only son, even more difficult to bear.

"They said one group was standing over by the Rite-Aid over there, mouthing off to the other group and somebody said something wrong and the group at the Rite-Aid starts shooting at that group," he explained. "One bullet hit the side of the car and one bullet went through the rear windshield of the car and hit my son in the back of the head."

Witnesses told police they saw three men running from the scene.

"There's no reason at all to do something like this," Ennis told NBC12. "These kids have got to learn, guns are not the answer."

Homicides are not the norm near the intersection of North Belvidere and West Marshall Streets. It is a busy area and the Richmond Police Department said someone had to have seen something.

"I've talked with the lead investigator and he believes if he can get the right call with the right piece of information that will give them a quantum leap in being able to solve this case and bring a killer to justice," said Department spokesman Gene Lepley.

Police are hoping someone will call Crime Stoppers to help them crack the case. The number is 780-1000. The Ennis family is working to raise money to increase the reward.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.