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Man facing murder, other charges after 5 women shot in Young Terrace in Norfolk

Police arrested Ziontay Palmer, 19, for the shooting that left 3 women dead. Officers said Palmer shot one woman then shot the other four when they tried to help.

NORFOLK, Va. — A man is facing several charges, including three counts of Second-degree Murder, after five women were shot Wednesday night.

Ziontay Brian Ricardo Palmer, 19, was in Norfolk General District Court for arraignment Thursday morning. Police said Palmer killed three women and hurt two others when he opened fire in Young Terrace around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Chief Larry Boone described the incident on Whitaker as a "mass shooting" and said the shooting was domestic in nature. Investigators said the gunman shot one woman. When the other four tried to help her, Boone said the gunman shot them.

"As the community was trying to render aid, this coward shoots them," he said.

Boone said he never encountered a situation like this one.

"We need to start speaking up because this, I’ve never seen this in my 30 years career-- five women shot at one time," he said. 

The shooting took the lives of Detra Brown, a 42-year-old from Suffolk, Nicole Lovewine, a 45-year-old Norfolk resident, and Sara Costine, a 44-year-old woman from Lithonia, Georgia. They all passed away at the scene.

The two women who were hospitalized are 39 and 19 years old. Thursday morning, a spokesperson said they were expected to survive.

The pain in the Young Terrace neighborhood was palpable. 

“People are really getting tired of the violence. I’m sick of it," said James Washington, who lives in Norfolk. "We need to form a coalition. That’s what we need to do, to get these guns, get stuff done."

Washington joined dozens of onlookers along Whitaker Lane Wednesday. He is part of the Stop the Violence Team and he, himself, has yet to see real change in his community. 

“I’m saying it from the heart. Please stop the violence, put down the guns," said Washington.

Neighbors placed candles and balloons at the site of the shooting Thursday morning. Shashina Perry lives nearby. 

She said she heard the gunshots Wednesday night and saw children running to help the women who had been shot.

“A lot of us felt helpless," Perry said. "We saw the lifeless bodies. We saw the women not moving. I saw a 7-year-old kneel before his mother and say “Mommy, please get up.”

Perry says she didn't know them personally but she's heartbroken to see three women lose their lives.

"Mothers, women, babies left without mothers," she said. “This is not the stock we come from.”

Around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Norfolk police said they had taken the accused shooter into custody.

In addition to three counts of Second-degree Murder, Palmer faces a charge of Malicious Wounding and four counts of the Use of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony.

Palmer's preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. on Jan. 11, 2022.