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74-year-old man killed after asking a driver to slow down

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 17:44:58-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Willie Noise III was shot and killed in a place that he loved -- Petersburg's Patton's Park along the Appomattox River.

The 74-year-old man was with his friends on Sunday when witnesses said a driver sped by too close to the group.

"We asked [the driver], can he slow it down," Noise's friend JR Ruffin said.

"He flew off the bat," witness Tom McRae said.

The driver, according to witnesses, lifted up his shirt to show a gun.

Police arrived to investigate.

“The initial response from our officers was for reckless driving," Deputy Chief Emanuel Chambliss said.

The driver, later identified as 52-year-old Jimmy Merhout, of Chesterfield, left but returned a short time later.

“He took a long rifle and put it on the hood of the truck," McRae said. "Willie said, 'as long as you don't point that gun at me, we ain’t got no problem.' Jimmy took the gun and pointed it at Willie, Willie shot, Jimmy shot back."

Both men were struck.

Merhout suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Noise died.

"Can’t believe it," friend Robert Thomas, who witnesses the shooting, said. “He was one of the people you’d go to with your problems. He’d try to help you face them. That’s Willie Noise."

“A lot of people are going to miss him," Ruffin added.

Merhout was charged with murder and gun charges.