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Virginia Beach City leaders react to violence at Oceanfront

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Virginia Beach City officials are looking at what additional measures might better manage crowds on major event weekends in the city after two violent shootings.

The city issued a press release on the issue Thursday:

“From the Chesapeake Bay beaches to Mount Trashmore and from the Oceanfront to Sandbridge, we estimate that more than 100,000 visitors joined with thousands of local residents to enjoy our beaches and other recreational areas over the Fourth of July holiday,” said City Manager Dave Hansen. “There is nothing more important to us than making sure people feel safe and these incidents are particularly disturbing because they appear to have been unprovoked.”

Thursday morning around 12:30 a.m., police responded to 19th and Atlantic Avenue for a shooting that injured six people.

“Dozens of officers responded within seconds and located six people with gunshot wounds," officials said in the release. "Officers detained several subjects and a firearm was recovered from one individual who has been charged with brandishing a firearm.  Five victims were transported and one individual drove on their own to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. They have been released.”

Police also said there a married couple was injured along with four other victims who didn’t know each other. The victims were just walking with the flow of pedestrian traffic on the west side of Atlantic Avenue when they were struck by gunfire.

Officials said they were all from out of town.

According to the statement, “while none of the victims reported any problems or disputes during the night that could have led to them becoming a victim, one City camera picked up a possible dispute in the crowd in the 1800 block just before the shooting."

“We are investigating the possibility that a separate incident led to reckless random shooting that resulted in injuries to these six people,” said Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera.

Two people were also hurt after a shooting in the 1300 block of Atlantic Avenue on July 4 around 2 a.m. Police released a statement about this incident as well:

“The two men were confronted by three other males. One of the three males, later identified as Sherwin Lee Tann, 21, produced a handgun and fired a shot, striking one of the two men. The spent round struck a passerby who was grazed by the round. Officers responded, took Tann, a juvenile with Tann, and another man into custody and recovered two handguns.  Tann was charged with aggravated assault, malicious wounding and various firearm and drug charges.  He is in the Virginia Beach City Jail on no bond.  The juvenile was charged with possession and intent to distribute marijuana. The third man was released. The male victim of the gunshot wound was shot in the leg and taken to a local hospital for treatment. The victim who was grazed by a bullet refused treatment.  The suspects were visiting from North Carolina. The victims were also visiting from out of town."

“Gun violence is a growing problem in America. The fact that we are the safest large city in the country is of little comfort to those who were injured by irresponsible and reckless individuals who apparently have such little regard for the lives of others,” said Chief Cervera. “The City takes extra measures, especially on holidays and other large event weekends, to provide a safe and family friendly environment. We always increase staffing for these holiday weekends and will continue to do that. We may consider additional steps to help manage crowds once the festivities are over, like close parking lots sooner to encourage earlier departures for day visitors.”

Lots currently close at 2:30 a.m.

Police continue to investigate these incidents and are asking anyone with information to contact Virginia Beach Police at (757) 385-4101. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may contact Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

Brian Luciano, President of the Virginia Beach Police Benevolent Association 34, posted the following on Facebook after the shooting: