NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A 36-year-old Newport News man is facing several charges, including first-degree murder, in the shooting death of Bryce Edward Hinkle.
Hinkle was found shot in his home on May 30, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Andrew Thomas Norton, 36, was charged with first-degree murder, robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was arrested at his home late Wednesday night.
On Thursday, police credited the community for the quick arrest of Norton, stating that neighbors spotted a suspicious car in the area and noted the license plate.
“There were a couple of folks from the neighborhood who saw the suspicious car,” said Newport News Police Spokesman Lou Thurston. “They took note of the car, they took note of the plate number.”
Court records show that on the day of the murder, neighbors saw a man get out of a red car that pulled up to Hinkle’s home. A short time later, they heard three pops and then saw the man get back into the car and drive away.
Neighbors called 911 after they found Hinkle lying in the floor of the house on Harpersville Road.
The plate number led police to the owner of the car, who told officers that Norton was driving his car.
It’s not clear why Norton went to Hinkle’s home. According to court documents, Norton told a friend that he was shot at as he was stealing money from Hinkle. Police say there is no evidence to believe Hinkle ever fired a shot.
“There is some thought that maybe that the shooter, the suspect may have known of Mr. Hinkle, but we don’t think that’s the case,” Thurston added.
Hinkle was known best in the neighborhood for fixing lawnmowers. He ran a small business out of his home.
“He was a nice guy and he looked out for you,” Arlegde said. “He took my lawnmower and in 15 minutes just had it going.”
Neighbors say they can relax knowing someone is behind bars for the crime.
“Had it not been for the community and these witnesses, we would surely still be investigating the case and it may have led to actually never been able to solve it,” Thurston added.
Norton is being held at Newport News City Jail.