Young Journalist Among Two Killed in Norfolk Shooting

From a Washington Post story by Gillian Brockell headlined “Young journalist among 2 killed in Norfolk shooting”:

Two people were killed and three others wounded in a shooting outside a popular Norfolk restaurant early Saturday morning. Sierra M. Jenkins, a 25-year-old journalist for the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, was among those killed.

Police received reports of a shooting outside Chicho’s Pizza Backstage shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday. When officers arrived they found five people had been shot. One of them, Devon M. Harris, 25, of Portsmouth, was pronounced dead at the scene. Jenkins and three male gunshot victims were transported to the hospital, where Jenkins died of her injuries.

A Chicho’s manager told the Pilot an argument broke out in front of the restaurant before he heard gunfire. Jenkins was leaving the restaurant and was caught in the crossfire, he said.

Jane Harper, a colleague of Jenkins’s, said on Twitter that Jenkins was scheduled to work Saturday, and Harper was asked to fill in when editors couldn’t reach Jenkins. She soon “found out why,” she said, and ended up writing the story about her co-worker’s death.

Jenkins’s father, Maurice Jenkins, told the Pilot his daughter “wasn’t much of a going-out kind of person at all,” but that a close friend was visiting so she had made an exception….

Jenkins was raised in Norfolk before earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Georgia State University in 2019. She interned at Atlanta Magazine and CNN before being hired as a news assistant for CNN Health. She started at the Pilot in December 2020 as a breaking news reporter before taking on the education beat.

Her editor, Brian Root, said Jenkins believed passionately in journalism. She also really wanted to make a difference in her community and with her new beat, where she was covering new Republican governor Glenn Youngkin’s plans for Virginia schools, student learning loss during the pandemic and big changes at local colleges.

“I have been very fortunate in my career that I’ve worked with several people who went on to become rock stars in our business, so I know them when I see them, and Sierra was on the way to becoming a rock star,” Root said. “It’s all about willingness and work ethic, and good god, she had that. And it hurts to talk about her in the past tense.”

Gillian Brockell is a staff writer for The Washington Post’s history blog, Retropolis. She has been at The Post since 2013 and previously worked as a video editor.

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