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Police chief concerned about guns on the street: 'We have weapons of war here in our city'

Posted at 7:55 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 19:55:07-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Three hundred ninety days have passed since someone shot and killed Joey Spillane.

Spillane, 27, was killed while sitting in a car at a red light at the intersection of University Boulevard and High Street in Petersburg in November 2019.

On Friday, police announced the arrest of 20-year-old Sincere Quayles for the crime. Quayles was charged with first-degree murder.

"This the best Christmas present ever," Joey's mother Sharon Biermann said about the arrest. "It wasn't Joey in the wrong place at the wrong time, it was somebody who made a decision that was going to change everybody's life."

Quayles was one of more than two dozen people arrested in Petersburg in the past seven days.

"We've arrested 31 [people]. We've taken about 15 guns off the street," Petersburg Police Chief Travis Christian said about his department's recent activity. "For our community, I think it means a sense of comfort. It's showing our community that we're out here. We're not going to stop."

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Christian said Petersburg Police have confiscated around 380 guns since the beginning of the year.

And while the number of murders in Petersburg is up from last year, there is another thing concerning the police.

"What is very unique to me is that the type of weapons [used in Petersburg shootings]," Chief Christian said. "We have weapons of war here in our city. These are not weapons just for ordinary day-to-day protection. These are weapons of war."

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If you have information that could help detectives, call Petersburg Police at 804-732-4222.