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Crime Insider sources: Gang turf war sparked string of Henrico shootings

Posted at 11:26 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-29 07:28:43-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- It's been a violent week and a half in the city and in Henrico County marked by killings, shootouts and innocent bystanders hit.

This week there were three shootouts in Henrico, including one outside a funeral home Friday.

Crime Insider sources say it was part of a city turf war.

During a shootout in a convenience store parking lot Wednesday off Laburnum and Delmont, a bullet struck a car driving by, narrowly missing a driver and a baby inside.

And during a road rage shootout Thursday, tempers flared and shots were fired across a busy Mechanicsville Turnpike intersection.

At a repast reception Friday, family and friends honored a loved one after passing with a meal together.

"He was pointing it as if it was a gun and people were running behind cars and the building," said a witness who did not want his name used.

But Crime Insider sources said the seven shots fired in the Henrico parking lot are connected to shootings happening in the city's housing projects.

Christina Benkhala is a major crimes investigator and has spent some of her career working inner-city murders.

"It's been going on for years, most of the neighborhoods know who lives there and when people cross over,” said Benkhala. “It's just not tolerated."

The repast for 19-year-old Zacki Rozier was held in Henrico Friday morning. Crime Insider sources said a retaliatory shooting played out in the lot off Nine Mile Road right before noon.

A Kinder Care daycare nearby had to go on lockdown, and a father said that he was heartbroken to hear his three-year-old say, “we had to hide in the mop closet.”

Rozier was killed August 20 on Coalter Street. Sources told said his killing was retaliation for the murder of a teen a day earlier in Gilpin Court.

"You'll see people from other turfs at vigils, funerals, wakes,” said Benkhala. “They're goal-oriented to get retaliation."

Benkhala said the right choice is to call police but points out the vicious circle of violence is hard to stop when it involves vigilante justice. "It's easier said when you are not from those areas that this needs to stop, but people are seeking justice and this is their way of doing that," said Benkhala.