Off-duty jail officer shot in Newport News robbery in critical condition

A man talks to Andy Fox after a Nov. 8, 2017, shooting at Gloucester Drive in Newport News.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Police are investigating a shooting that leaves a jail officer in critical condition in a local hospital.

The shooting happened at the corner of Gloucester Drive and York Circle in the Cottage Grove Apartments. The victim is a jail officer from Hampton Roads Regional Jail and remains in the hospital Thursday night still unable to tell his side of the story to police.

The victim, who police are not identifying, wrote on his Facebook page he started working at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in 2014. He’s a former Marine.

Near the victim’s red car a bullet is lodged in a nearby apartment’s vinyl siding, which is another reminder something terrible happened there Wednesday night.

Neighbors all tell the same story as Ashley Coberly: “We heard the shots, and he was screaming ‘help me, help me, help me.’ “

Newport News Police Spokesman Brandon Maynard told us: “The girlfriend of the victim heard several gun shots, she also ran out, located the victim on the ground suffering from his gunshot wounds.”

When the girlfriend came out to her boyfriend’s car, he was already on the ground.

Alexander Bennett says: “I come out of my house, and somebody was making noise…he was on the ground…somebody said an SUV left the scene…and somebody said he had been robbed.”

Police would not confirm motive for the robbery, or what type of vehicle they maybe looking for, but they did say the jail officer was not on duty, and not in uniform. We asked police was the jail officer targeted because he worked at the jail?

MPO Brandon Maynard: “We don’t have any reason to believe that as of right now. The investigation is still ongoing.”

As we were working the story we found a Samsung cell phone on the grass near the front of the victim’s car.

Unsure if it’s related to the crime, we called police. They came out. An evidence technician had a metal detector and it ‘pinged’ several times. The technician found a few cartridge casings which they took along with the cell phone. We then later found a bullet in a nearby house. Again, we do not know for sure if this is related to the Wednesday night shooting, but we called police again. They came back out and took the bullet out of the siding, and took it as evidence.

For folks who live in this section of Newport News, they know what to do when they hear gunfire.

“We didn’t go to the window when we heard the gunfire. You don’t do that. No. No. No. No. We lived at 19th St. and we learned then if you hear guns shots you automatically jump on the ground floor…and duck…and you don’t get up,” said  Lewis Joyner, a neighbor.