Hopewell police investigating double homicide

The call for shots fired and a car crash came in around 2 a.m. Jan. 18
The Hopewell community has been devastated recently by an increase in crime and violence.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 10:40 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:32 PM EST
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HOPEWELL, Va. (WWBT) - Hopewell Police are investigating a double homicide turned car crash.

“From looking at the shell casings along Liberty Avenue leading into Courthouse, there is a large number of shell casings and it appears to be that the vehicles could have been in motion and possibly shooting at each other,” said Hopewell Police Chief A.J. Starke.

The call for shots fired and a car crash came in around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Once on scene, officers found a man and woman with gunshot wounds inside a car that had crashed into the park’s concrete staircase.

Investigators believe that car was being chased by another. Detectives say when the first car took the turn too fast, it crashed. Police believe two people in the other car were firing multiple rounds from behind, hitting the victims.

Late Wednesday, police released the names of the victims. They are 33-year-old Robert Bryant Jr. and 35-year-old Jessica Collins, both from Hopewell.

Hopewell Police were back out at the crime scene Wednesday morning casing Arlington Park for any leftover clues.

“And I keep hearing the shots and I realize like these are some big guns. They literally sound like we’re living next to Fort Lee,” said Kiera Baker, who lives near Arlington Park.

Baker says her two children were in the rooms facing the park and gunfire. Baker says the shots were so loud they didn’t even hear the car crash. Her message to police is to be more present.

“Can y’all please keep a car parked at the end of Arlington Park right there in the circle. I don’t care if y’all have to rotate shifts or something, but something needs to be done about that,” said Baker.

Baker says her house is riddled with bullets from previous shootings.

In 2021, an 18-year-old was shot and killed following reports of shots fired and a large disturbance at the park on the Fourth of July. A number of cars were also littered with bullet holes.

“We have drive-bys. Apparently this is a hot spot. All of Hopewell is hot, but this is a hot little spot,” said Baker.

The chief would not say if this double homicide was gang-related but did say it was an isolated incident. Call Crime Solvers if you have information at 804-541-2202.