NORFOLK, Va. – We are learning more after three women were killed and two more were injured in a Wednesday night mass shooting.
Multiple people who live in the Young Terrace community where the tragic incident happened told News 3 that the suspect, 19-year-old Ziontay Brian Ricardo Palmer, was in a relationship with the 19-year-old woman who was shot and injured. We also learned that she is five months pregnant.
Additionally, neighbors said 45-year-old Nicole Lovewine, who was fatally shot, is the mother of the pregnant teen who was injured.
Neighbors said Palmer and the pregnant teen got out of a car driven by an unknown person together – Palmer out of the passenger seat and the teenager out of the backseat – after having an argument in the car. Palmer then shot the teenager in the shoulder as she was leaving the car.
The teenager ran inside, then Lovewine and her partner, 42-year-old Detra Brown, ran to her rescue. Palmer is accused of shooting them both at point-blank range.
A neighbor, 44-year-old Sara E. Costine, and a 39-year-old woman heard the commotion and ran to help. Palmer shot them both, killing Costine and leaving the 39-year-old woman injured.
Lovewine, Brown and Costine were killed, while the other two victims, a 39-year-old woman and the 19-year-old woman who was dating the suspect, were both taken to a local hospital with gunshot wounds and are expected to survive.
According to Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, the teenager is now out of the hospital.
Palmer was arrested in connection to the shootings. The Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney office said he was charged with three counts of second-degree murder, two count of malicious wounding and five counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone is intentionally calling this a mass shooting, saying people are too desensitized to violence and calling for a national spotlight on the incident.
Related: ‘It shook me to my core. I can only imagine what it did to those kids’: Chief Boone sends emotional message after mass shooting
Staff with the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority said Thursday that they went door-to-door in the Young Terrace community to offer support.
One counselor says community members haven’t stopped coming through the door.
“We got here as early as 8 a.m. and have not stopped,” said Benicia Hernandez Gill, an on-site counselor and owner of Life’s Journey counseling. “We have seen so much pain, so much crying, so much anger – a lot of anger – kids who have seen things they shouldn’t ever see; grown men crying.”
According to the NRHA, counseling services are available for Young Terrace residents, and counselors are available for walk-in appointments at the Young Terrace community center this week.
“The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority is devastated by the fatal shootings in our Young Terrace community on Wednesday night,” the NRHA said in a statement. “We are committed to supporting all of our residents and the families impacted by this terrible incident.”
NRHA Chief Community Engagement Officer Kimberly Thomas says these services are necessary for neighborhoods impacted by trauma.
“People were out this morning looking for some kind of relief,” she said. “You could look in eyes and tell there were some very sleepless nights last night.”
Thomas tells News 3 they are working mostly with adults and parents, as the children, many of which go to P. B. Young Elementary located just blocks from the shooting site, are receiving counseling from Norfolk Public Schools.
“We are talking to a lot of parents who are telling us the story of their children really being affected by yesterday’s events,” said Thomas.
Norfolk man and community activist Bilal Muhammad with Stop the Violence says he and other activists are asking for lighting at Young Terrace to help address violence in the area.
“We ask them for lighting the housing complex. This is one of the concerns that will be on our format about the housing complex. How we can address the crime that’s happening in this particular community or other communities like this?” he said.
He says that the forum is expected to be held at the Kroc Center on Saturday, Nov. 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. He says local law enforcement and city leaders are expected to attend as well.
For families seeking support for domestic violence, people can call the VA Family Violence Hotline at 1-800-838- 8238.
If you are in an abusive relationship and need help, here are some resources:
News 3 investigated types of domestic violence and you can find that on our investigations page by clicking here.