Video shows moments after someone shot 2 police officers in Norfolk

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 4 at 2:09 PM

NORFOLK -- Three people are dead, including a police officer and a 17-year-old boy, and another officer is wounded after a seemingly random shooting spree in Norfolk.  The shooter was killed by officers during a struggle. 

Mark Rodriguez, 17, was shot and killed in his vehicle by 29-year-old James Brown, according to Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith.

Police say Brown was shooting randomly from his Jeep on Chesapeake Boulevard around 11 p.m. One of the bullets hit Rodriguez, who was sitting inside his vehicle.  Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chief Goldsmith says Rodriguez was "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Police responding to that incident, including 35-year-old Brian Jones, found Brown's vehicle near his home in the 7400 block of Wellington Road. Shortly after, an off-duty officer, 28-year-old Curtis Allison, came to assist. Police say moments later, the suspect began shooting a high-powered rifle from the doorway of his home.

Officer Jones was shot multiple times by Brown, according to Chief Goldsmith. Officer Allison was shot while trying to assist Jones.

Several neighbors, including Steve Koptchak heard the earlier shots that killed Rodriguez and then heard Brown speed into the driveway at his house. Those neighbors were outside at the time of the shooting.

"It was instantaneous," Koptchak said. "As soon as the dude stopped the vehicle, gunfire started raining down," he said. "There was probably 30 to 40 gunshots, there was an awful lot of gunshots."

Surveillance video provided exclusively to 13News Now shows the moments immediately after Jones and Allison were shot. Brown speeds off in his car and an army of police officers rush to the scene. Some officers pulled up in cars, many ran to the scene on foot.

"Police officers [were] running everywhere," recalled neighbor Roberta Howe. "I had more cruisers, more police, just running absolutely everywhere."

As officers were responding to Jones' aid, another officer was chasing Brown as he sped across East Little Creek Road and hit another car, fled from his vehicle with a gun and refused to comply with a third officer's commands.

When the officer tried to arrest Brown, police say he began to fight and attempted to disarm the officer.  During a struggle, Brown was shot and killed by police.  Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The police officer tried to subdue the suspect but the suspect went for his weapon," Nick Ortiz said. Ortiz was inside his house with wife, roommate and young children when he heard Brown crash his car and ran outside to see what was happening.

"I started hearing the shots and I told everybody in my house to just get down on the ground," Ortiz said.

Brown crashed into Tiffany Bottoms' car, which was parked along Galveston Ave., near East Little Creek Road. Bottoms was in bed sleeping.

"I got up, jumped up, went outside and I looked and I seen the red car-- I didn't notice my car was way back there," she recounted Saturday morning. I started screaming 'My car! My car! My car!'" she said.

Officers Allison and Jones were transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for gunshot wounds.

Allison, an eight-year veteran of the department, was treated and is expected to make a full recovery, police said.

Officer Jones died at the hospital. He was a five-year veteran of the department and is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

"He's trained, he responded, he did everything he was supposed to do," said Chief Goldsmith. "My heart goes out to the family, my heart goes out to anybody that worked with him. I'm a cop just like everybody else is. This hurts...when one of us goes, especially in the line of duty like this.  It's tough."

Police continued to process three separate scenes Saturday -- all in the vicinity of Tidewater Drive, Wellington Road and Little Creek Drive.  

Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim expressed his condolences for the families of Officer Jones and Mark Rodriguez during an early-morning press conference

"We express our grief and gratitude for the service of Officer Jones and certainly express our condolences to his wife and children and his family," Mayor Fraim said.  He added, "We are deeply concerned for the loss of this young man, Mark Rodriguez.  All of this happened in a matter of moments."

Fraim went on to say that there are "a lot of unanswered questions and not enough answers."

Online court records show Brown was convicted in 2010 for assault of a police officer.  He was also was convicted of carrying a loaded weapon in 2012.

Chief Goldsmith said Saturday that it is too early in the investigation to determine a motive.

"The city will come together. We will begin to digest and understand what happened," Mayor Fraim said.

Mark Rodriguez was a rising senior at Norfolk Christian Schools.  School officials tell 13News Now they believe the young man had just dropped off a friend following graduation ceremonies when he was killed. 

Pat McCarty, the head of Norfolk Christian, sent an email Saturday to the school community asking for prayers for the Rodriguez family, as well as the family of Officer Jones.

"I have been praying, weeping and trying to process this information for hours," McCarty wrote.  "Knowing that Mark’s sweet smile is looking at the face of the Savior he loves, knowing that his worship is sweeter than he ever imagined, does not help my heart accept that we have lost him for a time."  

In April, Rodriguez blogged about Heaven, saying, "God is super good. I can’t wait to be with him forever."

"He was so looking forward to heaven and that is what Mark would want people to focus on and that's where he is right now.  He is with Jesus," school spokeswoman Janita Smith told 13News Now.

Norfolk Christian is holding a school-wide prayer service Sunday at 2 p.m.  Counselors will be at the prayer service for anyone who needs help coping with their grief, Smith said.

Virginia Public Safety Foundation issues statement
 

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