Witnesses recall deadly birthday shooting near VCU

Nathan Ratigan
Nathan Ratigan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Friends and neighbors are distraught after a party turned deadly near VCU. The university sent out an alert to students because it was so close to campus.

Friends of 24-year-old Nathan Ratigan say he was at a house party, near West Marshall and Madison Streets when a group of strange men approached them.

"It's just terrible," said close friend, Ryan Davis. "We just lost a good friend. He was a wonderful guy - the nicest guy ever."

He says at least four men walked up to the front of the house saying they wanted to party. Witnesses say they kindly asked those men to leave, but people at the celebration say something felt off.

"It felt sketchy the whole time," said Davis. "They didn't try to argue or fight with us. It got really quiet and awkward."

Davis says the men left then returned about 10 minutes later. Witnesses say the men came around the corner with a larger group of guys. They say one of them took a man's book bag at gunpoint, and later shot Ratigan near the front of the home.

Davis was outside and hid behind a car to keep from getting shot. Richmond Police heard those shots around 1:00 Sunday morning.

"It was like boom, boom, boom, boom," said neighbor Darnell Emile.

Officers arrived just moments later and found Ratigan with a gunshot wound. He died an hour later at the hospital.

Bullets even busted out a a next door neighbor's front door window. People inside were not hurt. Police say four men believed to be involved in the shooting were last seen running towards Belvidere and West Broad Streets.

"Just because you can't go into someone's party, it doesn't give you the right to shoot somebody," said Emile. "That's just sick."

"There was absolutely no reason for any of that," said Davis.

This shooting happened just a few blocks down from where the Second Street Festival had ended several hours prior.

Anyone with information on this homicide is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

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