The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Two weeks, two young men dead
A Spotsylvania County teen was shot and killed Saturday afternoon only a mile and a half from where another young man was found dead two weeks ago.
Spotsylvania deputies discovered the body of Jayson Syrkes, 18, Saturday around 2:30 p.m. after being called to the Sylvania Heights neighborhood for reports of a shooting.
Police say the teen’s death is not related to the Nov. 24 slaying of Rodney Darnell Beanum Jr., 28, in the nearby Mayfield community. In fact, Fredericksburg Police charged a suspect Saturday in connection with that shooting.
A first-degree murder warrant was obtained for Lorenzo McKinley Jones III, 19, who is also charged with robbery. City detective Wayne Hunnicutt obtained warrants for Jones’ arrest Saturday evening and immediately sent information to other jurisdictions seeking help in locating the suspect. He had not been apprehended as of Saturday night.
Police said Jones has ties to the Richmond, Washington and Clarksville, Tenn., areas. He should be considered armed and “extremely dangerous,” according to a flyer distributed to multiple law enforcement agencies.
City police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said it is not clear what brought him to Fredericksburg or what led to Beanum’s slaying. It was the city’s first homicide in more than a year.
Beanum was shot repeatedly in the head and body about 2:30 a.m. in the 1900 block of Howard Avenue. Witnesses reported hearing at least 10 shots.
Bledsoe said the robbery occurred just prior to the slaying and involved someone at the scene other than Beanum. Bledsoe declined to elaborate.
It is also unclear how many people witnessed Beanum’s slaying, but two people have been charged with misdemeanor obstruction of justice during Hunnicutt’s investigation. Bledsoe would not say if one of those two men was the robbery victim.
Anyone with information on Jones’ whereabouts is asked to call Hunnicutt at 540/654-5743 or city police at 540/373-3122.
Saturday’s incident occurred in the 200 block of Mansfield Street in Sylvania Heights, across Tidewater Trail from Shannon Airport.
Deputies found Syrkes’ body along the wood line behind some homes in that area, said Capt. Jeff Pearce of the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office.
“It appears he was shot one time,” Pearce said. He was already deceased when first responders arrived, he said. No one has been charged, but two juveniles were detained for questioning, said Pearce.
According to Syrkes’ Facebook page, he had attended Riverbend High School and was excited to become a first-time father in a few weeks. The investigation is ongoing, Pearce said. There is no clear motive at this time, he said.
Sylvia Digges, who has lived on Mansfield Street for 30 years, said she saw police in her community Saturday when she returned from her grandson’s birthday party.
“My neighborhood is very quiet,” she said. “Nothing happens. Everybody goes [about] their business. I’m surprised something happened.”
Digges said she was shocked to learn about the tragedy.
“It’s unbelievable, oh my God,” she said.
Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to call the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office at 540/582-7115 or text SEE911 to CRIMES (274637).
Staff writer Jeff Branscome contributed to this report.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419