14-year-old arraigned, held at detention center for murder of Va. teen

Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 2:56 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - The 14-year-old boy charged with the murder of a Henrico County teen will remain at the county’s Juvenile Detention Center following his arraignment.

Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor said the suspect appeared by video conference for his scheduled arraignment Monday roughly 72 hours after the shooting happened.

“We have a community that is hurting,” Taylor said.

On March 26 around 4:30 p.m., Henrico police were called to the 1900 block of Hickoryridge Road for the report of a shooting. There they found a teenage girl shot outside a home. She was taken to the hospital where she later died from her injuries.

With permission from the family, Henrico County Public Schools identified the victim as Lucia Bremer, an eight grader at Quioccasin Middle School.

The Bremer family released the following statement through a family-friend on Monday:

“Our family is grieving today, as we will for the rest of our lives. Lucia was not only a member of our close-knit family, but she was also a dedicated athlete, bright mind, and kind soul. She was well known in our community and a vital piece of the workings of our family farm. What happened to her was an act of evil. It was senseless, and we were robbed of something that we can never get back. Together, we will grieve and then do the only thing we can do - move forward, living in light the way Lucia lived and loving the way Lucia loved. This will be our only comment at this time.”

Lucia Whalen Bremer
Lucia Whalen Bremer(Henrico County Public Schools)

Bremer, who was 13 years old, was described by her principal as “wise beyond her years.”

“Talking to her didn’t feel like talking to a middle schooler,” said Quioccasin Middle School Principal Melanie Phipps. “Lucia was exceptional; truly one-of-a-kind. She was brave, hardworking, and kind to everyone. Her smile would light up the entire room.”

“It’s a tragedy - no doubt about it,” Taylor said.

At Monday’s arraignment, a guardian was in court on behalf of the suspect, according to Taylor. Bremer’s family did not attend but was informed of what happened in court.

“Certainly, the facts of this case are absolutely horrific, but I would be remiss if I also didn’t acknowledge the fact we’re talking about a 14-year-old defendant as well,” Taylor added.

Due to his age, the suspect’s name has not been released. However, under Virginia Law, in cases like these, Taylor does have the authority to charge the suspect as an adult.

“However, again, it is so early in the proceedings to get to understand this young man, who he is, what his background is about that we can’t comment as to whether that’s something we’re going to pursue or not at this time,” Taylor said.

Currently, investigators are working with Taylor’s office to learn more about the 14-year-old suspect. That information will serve as evidence to whether the boy could be charged as an adult.

“Then you’re also looking at the age of the individual and any prior contacts with the court; any mental health issues we may be dealing with,” Taylor said. “Naturally when we talk about a child who is young, of tender age, we do…want to know why does something happen. So, there could certainly be a lot of research or trying to figure out what might cause a young person to do such a horrific act.”

Taylor added there is typically a deadline for when a decision must be made to charge a suspect as an adult. However, since the suspect has a status hearing scheduled for May 4, Taylor said it is possible the court could waive that deadline to allow both parties the opportunity to seek more information in the case.

Police arrested the teen nearly 24 hours after Bremer was shot in the Gayton Forest West neighborhood off Pump Road.

Information about a connection between the two has not been released, nor a motive.

“The biggest question a lot of the community members have is how could something like this, so tragic happen?” Taylor said. “That’s what we’re doing, we’re still investigating the matter, still putting the pieces together to see if we will be able to answer that question.”

Additionally, how the teen had the gun in the first place is also under investigation.

On Sunday, Henrico County Police released a statement regarding “inaccurate messages” circulating on social media following the shooting Friday.

“Speculations about the crime being investigated as a hate crime or being gang-related are unfounded,” said Chief Eric English. “While homicide investigations are complex and must be investigated thoroughly with a great deal of follow up, at this stage of the investigation, these allegations have no validity or credibility.”

“Those types of posts do nothing but create anxiety within the community, spreading falsehoods, and does not achieve any good purpose,” Taylor added.

While the teen is scheduled for a status hearing in May, Taylor said the details of what is discussed will not be made public due to confidentiality reasons in the juvenile case.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe was created to help support the family. In less than 24 hours, more than $64,000 was raised.

According to the description on the fundraising website, contributions will go towards feeding the Bremer family and funeral costs.

“The family is working on a memorial fund and potential scholarship that will be formalized and the details shared soon,” the narrative stated.

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