Mother of man fatally shot by Va. police says shooting made 'little sense'
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia had shot and killed an armed home-invasion suspect and took another armed suspect into custody after the man-and-woman duo refused to comply with orders to surrender, authorities said Monday.
But the mother of the man who was killed said the shooting made little sense, occurring less than an hour after he and his girlfriend left a Mother’s Day barbeque. She said her son owned no guns and that his claw-hand deformity would’ve made it difficult for him to fire a weapon.
The incident occurred late Sunday night in Portsmouth, a city in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region near the Atlantic Coast.
Portsmouth police said in a statement that officers responding to a 911 call were confronted by the suspects outside an apartment complex. After they ignored commands to surrender, one of the officers shot the man, police said. He later died at a hospital.
The officer who fired his or her weapon has not been identified. He or she was placed on administrative leave, police said.
Virginia State Police took over the investigation Monday and identified the suspects as Willie Rogers Marable, 29, and Erica Jasmine Brown, 32. Brown has been charged with attempted armed burglary and related counts and remains in custody.
Marable’s mother, Lorri Flythe, said Marable lived with her in a house that sits about a block from where the shooting occurred.
Flythe said her son bounced on a backyard trampoline and presided over the grill at the family’s annual Mother’s Day barbeque. Then he and Brown — his girlfriend — and others left to visit a friend down the street.
“I want to know why did the police kill my son?” she said, adding that her son’s 29th birthday is actually this coming Wednesday. “My son never owned a gun ... he can’t hold a gun. Somebody is lying and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.”
But on Monday morning, Flythe only had the police’s brief statement and neighborhood rumors to process the loss.
“A guy told me that two guys with dreadlocks had jumped him and beat him up,” she said. “That’s all that I knew. And the police shot him ... I know nothing of a home invasion.”
Lizzie Hopkins, an aunt of Marable’s, said rumors swirled that Marable and Brown had gone to the apartment complex with guns to retaliate against those who jumped him.
“We just don’t know, and his girlfriend is in custody,” Hopkins said.
Drops of blood could be seen in the apartment complex parking lot and continued onto the street and toward the house where Marable lives his mother and 2-year-old daughter, Millie.
Trisha Sawning said Marable had worked for her at Chesapeake Bay Moving and Storage. She had stopped by his house because he hadn’t shown up for work.
“I literally just saw him yesterday and gave him a letter of recommendation for his probation officer,” she said after hugging Marable’s mother. “He was such a good guy.”