NORFOLK – A four-year-old boy died Wednesday night after police say his father shot him in their East Ocean View neighborhood.
Rayvon A. Messer, 26, was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of his four-year-old son, Rayvon Messer Jr.
Messer has also been charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is being held in Norfolk City Jail without bond.
Rayvon Jr. was shot around 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday at an apartment located in the 9500 block of 19th Bay Street, police said. When police arrived, they found the boy outside of the house suffering from a gunshot wound, according to Norfolk Police Department spokesman Daniel Hudson.
Rayvon Jr. was rushed to a local hospital, but died shortly after arriving.
Thomas Nelson, a 59-year-old neighbor, said he was leaving his home when he saw police officers arrive at Messer’s apartment. Nelson said the father rushed out to greet the officers, and a paramedic followed quickly behind with a stretcher.
“I’ve never seen [the police] come out here like that before,” Nelson said.
Nelson, who has been living on 19th Bay Street for seven years, said Messer and his family were new to the neighborhood.
Tyquan Collins, 21, lives in the apartment next door to Messer’s. Collins said he was on his way home from Virginia Beach Wednesday evening when the shooting happened. Police wouldn’t allow him into his apartment until after midnight, and when he got into bed he had trouble sleeping.
“It’s scary for it to be right next door,” he said.
Collins described Rayvon Jr. as a “cute, chunky little boy,” who was often seen playing outside. The boy’s parents were always nice to Collins, and seemed like a quiet couple who didn’t yell or fight.
Another neighbor, 40-year-old Warren Evans, said he was home when the shooting happened, but never heard a gun. He stayed in his house with his family while police marked off the street with caution tape, and spent the evening watching television in a front room while police lights flashed through his window.
“It’s horrible,” he said.
Evans has been living in the Ocean View neighborhood for nine years, and said the area is quiet and full of children.
Evans added that there has been periodic crime in the area, but that it used to be a lot worse. These days gunshots aren’t heard often unless it’s New Years Eve or the Fourth of July.
An arraignment date has not been set yet for Messer. He and his family could not be reached at the time of publication.
Messer’s past criminal convictions include reckless handling of a firearm from an incident that happened in October of 2014 and a possession of marijuana charge in 2011.
Amy Poulter contributed to this story.
Mayfield can be reached at email@example.com.
Correction: A previous version of this story said the victim was three years old. Rayvon Messer Jr. was four.