Charges in shooting withdrawn

Published 11:38 pm Friday, April 30, 2010

Charges against an 18-year-old man in the fatal shooting of a Suffolk teen were withdrawn by prosecutors in Norfolk on Thursday.

Clifton Erving Privott of Bangor Crescent in Chesapeake was being held on charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in a felony for the Jan. 9 shooting of Michael Lee, a Lakeland High School senior.

The 17-year-old senior was fatally shot once in the early morning at a party, when a fight reportedly spilled outside a home on the 500 block of West 34th Street in the Park Place community of Norfolk.

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Privott was arrested at his home Jan. 22.

Charges were withdrawn at Privott’s preliminary hearing on Thursday because “evidence at this time prevented the matter from going forward,” according to Amanda Howie, spokeswoman for the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Howie explained that withdrawing the charges does not mean they have been dismissed. The “investigation will continue,” she added.

According to Bonita Harris, spokeswoman for Norfolk Sheriff’s Office, Privott is in the process of being moved to the jail in Chesapeake, where a charge of petit larceny was withdrawn Jan. 26.

Blair Barbieri, spokeswoman for the Chesapeake, said administrators at the jail could not discuss Privott’s status, because they’re unable to comment on inmates not at the jail.

Norfolk Police spokesman Chris Amos said at the time of Privott’s arrest that police did not believe Lee and Privott knew each other before the party, and he did not anticipate making any other arrests in connection with the shooting.

Lee is remembered as a honor roll student and foot ball player at Lakeland.

“Mike was a young man who was going somewhere,” said Shelia Williams, Lee’s guidance counselor. “He overcame a lot of things in his childhood. But, instead of living a life of anger or fear, he lived life with determination and purpose.”

Following a memorial service at Lakeland on Jan. 14, Lee’s mother, Karen Lee, remembered her son as a young man who “always looked at the glass half full.”

“It is my hope people will remember Mikey as a young man full of hope, joy and promise,” she said.