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3 men indicted for murder of Petersburg man shot near gas station

Posted at 3:35 PM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 15:36:38-04

DINWIDDIE, Va. –The Dinwiddie Commonwealth’s Attorney announced that three people were indicted on first-degree murder charges for the June 20 murder of a Petersburg man.

Umar Abdus Salaam, 47, was shot early Wednesday morning, on June 20, near the Shell gas station/Burger King along the 5600 block of Boydton Plank Road.

Salaam’s body was found by a driver just before 3 a.m, lying beside the road.

Crime Insider sources said investigators believed the grandfather was shot in the back then staggered to the road. Salaam was taken to the Southside Regional Medical Center, and pronounced dead once he arrived.

Dinwiddie investigators obtained warrants charging conspiracy to commit murder against Thornell Sledge, 24, of Petersburg, Caleb Q. Smith, 25, of Newport News, and Jhanae Short, 18, of Petersburg.

All three now face indictments for first-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy, and use of a firearm in the commission of the felonies of murder and robbery.

They have been held without bail at the Meherrin River Regional Jail since June 21.

Umar Abdus Salaam

Investigators worked closely with their chief prosecutor to accomplish the swift apprehension and detention of the suspects in the killing of Shalaam, said Dinwiddie Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill.

“We wanted to restore the community’s sense of safety and equilibrium, and we also wanted to prevent any further violence or destruction relating to this awful situation,” Baskervill said.

The grand jury meeting on July 17 was the first county grand jury to meet since the murder occurred.

The killings of Ke’Asia Adkins and Umar Salaam were horrible and tragic, causing senseless loss and profound heartbreak,” Baskervill said. “Certainly, I speak for investigators as well in continuing to extend heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the victims. “But we will not let our community be degraded or undermined by violence and destruction.”

“His arms were always opened to bring people in and lift them up. So it’s kind of bad that it went down like this,” Salaam’s friend and co-worker Timothy Couch said in a previous interview.

Couch is the manager at the Zoe’s Bubbles and Sudz Detailing right outside of the Shell Gas Station.

Couch said he did not know why Salaam was at the business so early in the morning, but he believed there was a female with him.