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Charges withdrawn for man accused of Downtown Norfolk shooting that left 3 dead, 2 hurt

Prosecutors 'nolle prossed' the charges against Antoine Legrande Jr., meaning they were dismissed but could be reinstated at a later time.

NORFOLK, Va. — Prosecutors withdrew the charges against the man arrested after a Downtown Norfolk shooting that left three people dead and two hurt in March.

Antoine Legrande Jr. faced three counts of second-degree murder, five counts of use of a firearm and two counts of malicious wounding. He appeared in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing when those charges were withdrawn.

RELATED: Man arrested for Granby Street shooting that killed Virginian-Pilot reporter, along with two others

The shooting happened on March 19 outside of Chicho's Pizza Backstage after an argument broke out about a spilled drink just before 2 a.m.

The victims who died were Virginian-Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkins, semi-professional football player Malik Harris, and Marquel Andrews.

Legrande was arrested in May, almost two months after the shooting. His preliminary hearing was originally set for Sept. 6, but it got pushed back due to a subpoena issue.

Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi said his team worked to serve a subpoena to one key witness, even getting help from interim Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith.

Prosecutors sent someone to serve the subpoena directly in person, but they could not find the witness at his home.

Prosecutors nolle prossed the charges -- meaning they were dismissed but could be reinstated at a different time -- because two out of the three witnesses did not appear in court to testify. Fatehi says the Norfolk Police Department and the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office need help from eyewitnesses.

"This was a big scene. There was a lot of people out that night. Logically, there has to be somebody that knows something who has not come forward," said Fatehi. "I am asking, I am begging, for those people to come forward."

Fatehi called the withdrawal frustrating and said the situation is why Virginia needs a witness protection program.

"It may not have made a difference in this case, but it's unconscionable that we don't have that tool," Fatehi said.

Legrande's attorney, Eric Korslund, said he is pleased with the outcome of this case for his client, despite the tragedy that struck in March.

"This is what we hoped for. He's very happy about it and his family is, too," said Korslund following the hearing. "In fact, he had a daughter while he was in custody, so I think the first thing he wants to do is be reunited with his daughter."

Korslund confirmed to 13News Now that Norfolk City Jail officials released Legrande Tuesday evening. Korslund said Legrande did not want to make a comment on his case.

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