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Men abducted from Richmond gas station works at law firm near crime scene

Posted at 11:22 PM, Nov 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-17 19:27:53-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The two men abducted from a Richmond gas station Monday afternoon during their lunch break worked at a law firm less than a mile from the crime scene. While police have not yet released the names of the abduction victims, nor the gunman who took them, the BrownGreer law firm issued a statement about their employees.

"This is a tragic time for our BrownGreer family," the statement began. "We cannot comment on what has happened. Our thoughts and prayers are with our employees who were the victims of this senseless violence, especially our employee who is in the hospital with his family."

The gas station abduction

The BrownGreer workers were on lunch break, just pumping gas, when the crime unfolded.  It was 12:30 p.m. Monday when police said a gunman approached them at the  BP gas station and asked for money. When the men told the gunman they didn't have money, police said he forced them back into their SUV and told them to drive to the bank.

"I'm very surprised of the brazenness,” Irene Murphy, who lives across the street from the Fast Mart along the 2600 block of East Main Street.  “It's right in the middle of the day."

Decision made inside bank leads to police chase 

At the Bank of America at 1111 East Main Street, one victim was ordered to get out. He went into the bank, according police, and called 911.

Police arrived and ordered the gunman to release his hostage, but instead the vehicle drove off, weaving through city streets at 35 to 45 miles per hour.

Police chased the carjacked SUV throughout the city, as one of the victims drove the vehicle.

"Be advised he has a weapon to the driver’s head,” crackled the police radio.

It ended with a chaotic crash in Church Hill near 25th  and R streets

"Shots fired! Shots fired!"

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said the gunman fired a weapon at officers after he shot the hostage in the head at point-blank range.

"The vehicle stopped, and the suspect sitting in the rear seat fired a single shot at our victim’s head," Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said.

Even though the chief said the gunman shot the victim, the official police update issued later that evening was not as specific.

"Henrico Police deployed spike strips near the intersection of Magnolia Street and Mechanicsville Turnpike in Henrico County, puncturing the SUV’s tires. The vehicle came to a stop after it failed to make a turn from 25th Street onto R Street and collided with a parked car," a Richmond Police spokeswoman said. "Gunfire was exchanged between the suspect and officers. Both the victim and suspect were taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. An RPD officer also suffered a minor injury."

Both the gunman and the shooting victim remain in critical condition. As the investigation continued Tuesday morning, people living in the neighborhood where the chase ended were stunned.

"This is something that causes you to reevaluate everything,” said Murphy.  “But it's just part of society nowadays."

Police said they’re working to release information about the suspect. Anyone with additional information can submit a news tip here.