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A mother found a home in a Norfolk gang. Then they shot her in the face and left her for dead



20-year-old Brianna Arrington was shot in the face, stabbed in the head, and nearly drowned with bleach, dying for about nine hours by the time someone found her.

It had been a gang hit, and the young mother was supposed to die early in the morning on April 24, 2020, prosecutors said. Presumably, her would-be killers thought they’d finished the job after shooting her in the right eye, sending a bullet into her skull and out her right ear.

Arrington’s attackers then drove her 2-year-old son more than five miles and abandoned him on the street, according to police. A garbage collector found the toddler wandering alone about an hour before dawn in West Ghent.

Shockingly, Arrington survived the attack. She spent weeks in the hospital in a coma, lost her eye, and is deaf in her right ear. When she testified at a December court hearing, eight months after the attack, she still had a slew of scheduled surgeries and was taking dozens of pills every day.


When she testified in court, she removed her prosthetic eye to punctuate the pain she was living with.

Arrington is one of 244 people shot in Norfolk last year, and her story shows how one event can devastate not just the victim’s life but those around them. Violence radiates, its tragedy rippling out from victims to their family and friends to the community as a whole — pressing relatives into service as caregivers, forcing children into foster care and psychologically scarring everyone.

In Arrington’s shooting, the bullet somehow missed her brain, something the prosecutor in her case described as a miracle. When she finally woke up from her coma, she started talking to police. She would tell detectives her story over the course of many days.


The defendants in the Brianna Arrington case. Pictured top row, from left to right, is Asja Smith-Moore, Brandon Winnegan, Deondre Watkins, Ginger Mcafee and Javonee Hodges. Second row, from left to right, is Sadia Brown, Skylar Webb, Tavarrius Mitchell, Toporshia Hodges and Xavier Walker. (Photos Courtesy of Norfolk Sheriff’s Office)

10 gang members have been arrested in connected with the Arrington case. Arrington said she doesn’t remember being moved from the Glen Myrtle apartment complex, being stabbed multiple times, getting shot, being found the next afternoon or being treated by paramedics. The last time she remembers seeing her son, he was in the backseat as gang members with guns surrounded them.

Some of the gang members dragged her from the car and beat her some more while firing off their guns. Then two of the men stuffed her in a trunk and drove her six blocks away. One of them shot her in the face and put her in the front seat of the Mercedes.

The gang member decided not to kill the boy so three of the gang members drove him 5½ miles south on Hampton Boulevard and dumped him in “a nice neighborhood near CHKD.” Hours later, a garbage collector found the 2-year-old wandering by himself near Redgate and Claremont avenues, a block away from the West Ghent Greek restaurant Orapax. It was pouring rain. The garbage collector called for help. A police officer who’d been in his patrol car under the interstate got the call and responded.
Source: The Virginian Pilot


Abu is a Journalist & Business Owner from Prince George's County, MD. He is the CEO of The DMV Daily and Marketing Manager of The Wig Café, LLC. In May 2018, Abu obtained his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and is now attending Bowie State University for his M.A. in Organizational Communications.

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