PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A Chesterfield man died in the hospital after he was shot several times early Thursday morning, according to Petersburg police. The man's death marks the second homicide of 2017 in the City of Petersburg.
The shooting happened at 2:18 a.m. at a 7-Eleven gas station located at 701 South Crater Road, near Interstate 95.
Police said the man, identified as 24-year-old Michael Ward, of Chesterfield, was shot multiple times at a gas pump.
Ward's relatives say he was a family man, through and through, and was usually at home with his kids. He had been raised by his grandparents and had a passion for music.
His girlfriend, Tynisha Moore, is heartbroken over the loss and has no idea how to explain it to the couple's children.
"My kids have to go visit their father at a graveyard. They took that man from his family. For nothing. For nothing," she expressed.
She's begging witnesses to come forward with information.
A witness named Charles was smoking a cigarette on the balcony outside of his room at the Flagship Inns when he saw everything unfold.
"Next thing I know, it turned into a young man being gunned down, apparently over a small disagreement for no reason," Charles said.
Charles said initially, a group of people was playing music and talking, but then the situation escalated into a fight. People tried to break up the argument, but the witness said Ward tried to leave.
"By that time, it was already escalated too far, and they just did not care. The individual that was actually trying to leave. He had turned his back to the whole situation and was basically trying to get away," Charles said.
Charles said he heard seven or eight shots, but he saw Ward fall after the third or fourth shot. He then called 911. Ward was then rushed to the hospital, where he later died.
"I stood there because I was in shock myself for a moment. I heard multiple people screaming for someone to call an ambulance. That's when I took it upon myself to call 911 and get [the ambulance] out here as fast as possible."
He said the 7-Eleven is a popular hangout spot, especially on the weekends, and that it is not unusual for a large crowd of people hanging out there. However, Petersburg Police Lt. Greg Geist said it was unclear why so many people were gathered there early Thursday morning.
Police are still searching for the suspect, who is described as a black man wearing all black.
Detectives spent hours at the gas station on Thursday morning, trying to piece together what happened.
Police said the parking lot was packed full of people, but most of them fled when the shots were fired. Officers are hoping more of those witnesses will come forward.
This marks Petersburg's third homicide of the year.
Anyone with any information on the shooting is asked to call the Petersburg/Dinwiddie Crime Solvers at 804-861-1212.
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