Police: Teen charged in fatal shooting outside high school

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Posted at 12:26 PM, Dec 16, 2021

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Police in Virginia say they've arrested an 18-year-old high school student following a shooting that killed a 17-year-old outside a school in Newport News.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Demari Batten was arrested early Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder and related counts. The teen who died was identified as Justice Dunham.

Police said that the teenagers attended a high school basketball game on Tuesday night. The teens exchanged “gestures” from opposite sides of the gym before an altercation in the parking lot.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said that Dunham went to the vehicle he had arrived in. Batten then approached Dunham, police said, before the altercation occurred and a gun was fired.

Batten was detained at the scene. Drew said that accounts from students and community members who saw the shooting led to Batten’s arrest. Besides the basketball game, the high school was also hosting a musical performance. Police estimated there were about 1,100 people there that night.

The shooting occurred at Menchville High School, which is one of five high schools in the city. Dunham was a junior and standout football player at Woodside High School. Batten attends Warwick High School.

It's unclear if Batten has hired an attorney who can speak on his behalf.



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