Friends remember victims of double homicide

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Friends of two teens murdered this week in Newport News spent Friday remembering them, steps from where police said they found the victims.

Around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, a 17-year-old male ran to a home on Katherine Court to report he had been shot, according to MPO Donald Watt with the Newport News Police Department. Once officers arrived at the scene, emergency personnel transported the gunshot victim to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. He remained in the hospital Friday afternoon with serious injuries, police said. Investigators have not released his name.

As officers processed the scene, they discovered two more teenagers, shot to death, in the parking lot of nearby Saunders Elementary School. They have been identified as 16-year-old Bryant Wilder, Jr. and 17-year-old John A. Nieves, both of Newport News.

Photos: Friends remember teens killed

Angelica Santana and Jacob Lonergan sat in the parking lot of Saunders Elementary Friday, where friends and family have left candles and flowers. Santana remembered Bryant, her old middle school classmate, for his eyes.

“Bryant was like a Prince Charming. He was just funny. He’d lift your spirit. He’d make you laugh. His eyes were just so catching. His eyes would just catch you,” she said.

Lonergan said he spent many hours this summer with the teens, in that same school parking lot.

“We were just like a team,” he said. “Some of the best people I’ve met in my life. Bryant, he has his way with people. I mean, only guy I know that had a million friends and know all of them, like deeply. John … he was really funny, charismatic and he always had this really wild sense of style.”

The friends were left feeling helpless, wondering what it will be like when school starts in a few weeks.

“I’m so sorry. I feel so bad. Sometimes you wish you could do something to stop what happened, but you can’t,” Santana said.

“When school starts, I don’t know what I’m going to do. They’re my brothers,” Lonergan said.

Police have charged a 17-year-old suspect with two counts of second-degree murder, one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and one count possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. They are not releasing his name because Virginia State Code prohibits police from identifying juveniles charged with criminal offenses.

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