2 suspects charged with murder in Stuart Avenue homicide

Neighbors react to arrests in Fan District murder

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond police are investigating after a man was found dead May 7 in an apartment in the Fan.

Charles P. Smith IV, 48, was identified as the victim in what police initially called a death investigation but later classified as a homicide.

Richmond police arrested two persons of interest who were last seen walking out of a business in the 2400 block of Sheila Lane. Police said they left the area on foot toward a neighboring apartment complex.

Donnell Young, 38, and Nicole Andrews, 41, both of Richmond, were initially charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit to robbery and possession of stolen property. A murder charge was added June 7.

Young and Andrews were arrested as part of a gang-related arrest spree by U.S. Marshals and several Richmond-area law enforcement agencies known as “Operation Washout.”

Nicole Andrews, left, and Donnell Young, right, have been arrested in connection with a murder on Stuart Avenue.
Nicole Andrews, left, and Donnell Young, right, have been arrested in connection with a murder on Stuart Avenue. (Source: Richmond police)
Richmond police are looking for these two people in connection with a homicide on Stuart Avenue.
Richmond police are looking for these two people in connection with a homicide on Stuart Avenue. (Source: Richmond Police Department)

“He always seemed like a very nice man and I know he had some entrepreneurial business endeavors and he seemed really smart," said a neighbor.

Police responded at 11:23 a.m. for a welfare check in the 2000 block of Stuart Avenue. Smith was found dead in home located on the first floor shortly after.

Charles Smith was identified as the victim of a homicide after police performed a welfare check at his home in the Fan district.
Charles Smith was identified as the victim of a homicide after police performed a welfare check at his home in the Fan district. (Source: Facebook)

The Medical Examiners Office confirmed the cause of death in this case is sharp force injuries to neck and abdomen and the manner is homicide.

“I was just shocked because there’s not a lot of crime in this area,” said neighbor Olivia Penn.

For neighbor Jake Naughton he only had a few interactions with Smith despite living right next door.

“In the last eight months we never even heard as much as a peep out of him,” Naughton said.

“I’m just really curious as to what happened, and I’m curious as to if we need to have our guards up,” said Kathryn Sullivan, who lives in the area.

It’s a question many residents have as police work to figure out how the man died.

“This morning I woke up and there was someone knocking on my front door. I looked outside and saw a ton of cop cars and forensic teams,” Celeste Womack said.

Police went door-to-door questioning neighbors about the man found.

“They asked if I had seen or heard anything strange recently and I really had nothing to report,” one woman said.

More than 24 hours after the incident RPD’s Community Care Unit and a faith based organization were in the neighborhood knocking on doors to make sure families were okay following this rare incident in the Fan.

“It’s terrible to think that someone has taken his life,” a neighbor said.

“It makes me obviously a little nervous, but relatively this is a safe area and so it’s just a little big shocking,” Naughton added.

Police believe this is an isolated incident and there is no ongoing threat to the public.

However many people are still finding ways to stay protected.

“I keep my doors locked and have a security system," Penn said. “I also have automated lights and stuff.”

“I carry mace on my key chain and when I’m walking at night," Samantha said. "I am aware of people walking behind me and around me,” Samantha said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

Homicide victim found dead during welfare check was stabbed to death

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