Virginia police searching for murder suspect following 'unacceptable' killing of 10-year-old

Police in Virginia are on the hunt Thursday for an "armed and dangerous" murder suspect, who a police chief says is behind the "unacceptable" shooting death of a 10-year-old boy. 

The child died at a hospital Wednesday after being struck by gunfire during an altercation involving adult men in Franklin, Virginia, about 43 miles outside of Norfolk, according to authorities. A 37-year-old male also was wounded in the shooting. 

"Any loss of life is unwarranted but for a 10-year-old to be the victim of violent crime is unacceptable and we as a community must come together and end this senselessness," Franklin Police Chief Steve Patterson said in a statement Wednesday. "The Franklin Police Department offers its condolences to the family of the young man killed today and hopes the community will come together to support both families during this time." 

Franklin Police said, "During the investigation, it was learned that four subjects arrived at a residence of the adult male in the 300 block of Artis Street where an altercation between the adult victim and suspects took place.  

At that point, Tashawnda Nicole Drayton, 24, pulled out a firearm and "began shooting, striking both the victims," the department continued. 

"A relative of the 10-year-old victim carried him to another residence in the 300 Block of Artis Street where police, fire and EMS found him," Franklin Police said.  

"While securing the scene, Franklin Fire and Rescue responded and began to administer lifesaving aid and transported both victims to Bon Secours Southampton Memorial Hospital. Due to the injuries received, the 37-year-old adult male was flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where he has been treated and released," police also said. "The 10-year-old male child succumbed to his injuries at the hospital." 

Drayton, a Black female, is described by investigators as being around 5-feet, 11-inches tall and weighing 250 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. 

"Drayton is wanted for First-Degree Murder, Attempted First-Degree Murder, Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Shooting Into Occupied Dwelling (x2), Use of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony, Threat to Burn or Damage Building, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, and Discharge a Firearm in a Public Place," Franklin Police said. "Drayton is believed to be armed and dangerous." 

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