Search warrants offer more clues into Hampton, Newport News crime spree

Search warrants offer more clues into Hampton, Newport News crime spree
Posted at 5:22 PM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 17:36:53-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The crime spree all started just before 11:15 a.m. Monday and ended with two people dead in under an hour.

Elijah Armstrong is now charged with murder and is accused of killing Luis Zambrana Jr. and Lamar French in a multi-city crime spree.

Zambrana was standing in line at a vape shop inside an Exxon when surveillance video shows Armstrong walk up to Zambrana, take out a firearm and shoot him, according to a search warrant. Zambrana, who was 20, died.

Zambrana's family believes the two knew each other, and they say Zambrana was dating the mother of Armstrong's child.

Earlier this week, News 3 spoke with Zambrana's mother who called her son "talented and bright." 

Following the shooting, Armstrong walked towards a car and then drove away. He later told investigators he drove for about 15 minutes into York County. He dropped off his car on Meadowview Drive, according to the search warrant.

At some point, Armstrong called for a Lyft to take him towards Phoebus High School in Hampton. The driver of the Lyft was Lamar French. For reasons that remain unclear, investigators say Armstrong shot and killed French. Armstrong then drove off in French's car for about a block before abandoning it, investigators say.

French was a "gentle giant, a man of faith who loved God, who trusted God, who waited on God, and yes, he was Saved," according to his obituary.

Later that afternoon, Armstrong turned himself in at the Newport News Jail. He was accompanied by his father, according to the search warrant. While with an investigator, Armstrong "spontaneously uttered, 'What would you do if somebody spit on your child,'" [sic] the search warrant says.

He then confessed to killing French, according to the search warrant.

Armstrong appeared in court in Hampton on Monday morning. He's due back in court in Newport News next week.