Police: 3 men involved in deadly Richmond crash were shot

2 dead, 1 injured after car crashes over guardrail, down embankment in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Police say all three men involved in a deadly crash along Forest Hill Avenue were shot.

Emergency crews were called to the scene along Forest Hill Avenue near Bland Street around 1:15 a.m.

An NBC12 photographer says a car crashed over a guardrail at a creek next to the Crossroads restaurant.

Police identified the victims as Cinque Johnson, 24, and Larry Branch, Jr, 24, both of Richmond.

Cinque Johnson and Larry Branch
Cinque Johnson and Larry Branch (Source: Cheche Anderson)

“I don’t understand, I don’t understand,” Cheche Anderson, a friend to one of the victims, said.

Anderson visited the intersection earlier Wednesday afternoon, nearly at a loss for words. Her friend’s death marked the end of a 15-year friendship.

Police say a Jeep was coming down Semmes Avenue heading onto Forest Hill, before veering off and hitting a street sign.

The vehicle then struck a guardrail and ended up in an embankment. Johnson and Branch were taken to the hospital, where they were later pronounced dead. The third victim is in serious but stable condition.

“I swear, y’all. That was a good dude. He always was there. Always. We were just together! Like, I really don’t understand...” Anderson, nearly breaking down in tears, adding that she just saw her friend just hours before his death.

Throughout the day, loved ones of the victims gathered around the damaged barricade to grieve, leaving flowers and heart-shaped balloons.

But car crashes along this stretch of Forest Hill Avenue aren't anything new, according to neighbors.

”When they come around that curve, where Patrick Henry School ends, they come in too fast and the over-correct and they go right into this ditch or hit one of these buildings,” Tonja Baker said.

Baker lives a few doors down from the crash site, adding that her sister’s car crashed in the same embankment one time - leaving it completely totaled. However, that case can’t compare to this tragedy.

“It’s just sad. It’s really sad, there’s nothing else I can say. It’s an accident, it happened, and people lost their lives. That’s not good, ever,” Baker added.

Forest Hill Avenue was blocked from Roanoke Street to Dundee Avenue while crews worked to recover the vehicle from the embankment. The jeep was pulled out later in the morning.

Other neighbors reported hearing gunshots before the crash, and the report of shots fired is what police were initially called for.

By 4:45 a.m., crews were still on scene working to recover the car from the embankment.
By 4:45 a.m., crews were still on scene working to recover the car from the embankment. (Source: Photojournalist Eric Everington - NBC12)

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