A Virginia reporter was asked to cover her own shooting death before her employer tragically realized that she was the victim.
On Saturday morning, a Virginian-Pilot newspaper editor received reports that numerous people had been shot outside of a popular bar in downtown Norfolk. The editor reached out to on-duty breaking news reporter Sierra Jenkins to cover the story, but could not get ahold of her.
Later that day, the publication confirmed that their reporter was one of the people killed in the unfortunate shooting.
Jenkins had been enjoying a night out with her best friend at Chicho's Pizza Backstage, keeping an eye on her phone in case of any breaking stories that needed covering.
Bar manager Rory Schindel told the publication he recalled seeing her there: "They were a nice group. They took good care of our bartenders and our bartenders took good care of them."
"It was just a normal night," he said. "There were a lot of people there, as usual, and there was a great atmosphere inside."
Around 1:30 AM, he said the bartenders announced last call for drinks and turned on the lights; as customers were being ushered outside he said he heard an argument break out — then gunfire.
According to Norfolk Police, a total of five people were shot. One man, 25-year-old Portsmouth resident Devon M. Harris, was pronounced dead on the scene.
Jenkins was rushed to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, along with three men who were also wounded — including one with life-threatening injuries. But Jenkins could not be saved.
Jenkins' father Maurice stated that his daughter "wasn't much of a going-out kind of person at all" and only went out that night because her childhood best friend was in town.
"Everyone loved her," he added. "She was such an energetic, caring and giving person. A real go-getter. She'd do anything for anyone."
"We are devastated to report that Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press reporter Sierra Jenkins was among the victims of an overnight shooting in downtown Norfolk," the Virginian-Pilot tweeted.
We are devastated to report that Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press reporter Sierra Jenkins was among the victims of an overnight shooting in downtown Norfolk. She was 24. https://t.co/ctmC5xHvkr
— The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot) March 19, 2022
"For two years, she's covered the stories of Hampton Roads with compassion and care. She worked at Atlanta Magazine and CNN before coming home to Hampton Roads in 2020. Most recently, Sierra has been reporting on school policies and issues across the region," it added. "Sierra was funny, energetic and full of enthusiasm. We are absolutely heartbroken. Our community is better because of her reporting."
Police have yet to make any arrests or reveal any suspects.
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