‘Just senseless’

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, June 30, 2011

Murder: Brandon Alexander Alston was shot through his front door late Wednesday night. Neighbors said the crime was “shocking” and “senseless.”

NRHS grad shot in home Wednesday night

By Tracy Agnew

and Emily Collins

Neighbors of the victim of a Wednesday night shooting said they were surprised by the murder and couldn’t imagine why it happened.

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Brandon Alexander Alston, 20, was shot just after 11 p.m. in his home in the 200 block of Blackstone Way in the Burbage area. Police responding to a call of shots fired found a shattered storm door and bullet holes through the door, with Alston lying just on the other side.

He was a 2009 graduate of Nansemond River High School who ran track during his time there.


“It’s definitely a shocking, surprising thing,” said Laurie Loughran, who lives across the street from Alston’s home.

Tonya Baughman and her 17-year-old daughter were at home when they heard the shots.

“She said it sounded like gunfire,” Baughman said of her daughter. “I thought she heard a car backfire. I really didn’t want to believe that’s what it was.”

Alston had attended Nansemond River High School with her oldest daughter, Baughman said. She sent her 17-year-old away for the day on Thursday because she was having a hard time dealing with the death.

“I’m fearful for my kids now,” she said. “I was in panic mode last night.”

Baughman also said she believed Alston was a student at Norfolk State University.

Police investigated the shooting throughout the night, knocking on Herbert Hughes’ door about 4:30 a.m. Unfortunately, he said, he was asleep at the time of the shooting and couldn’t tell them much.

“You shouldn’t have to get used to stuff like that,” Hughes said.

Neighbors often call Blackstone Way “the baby street” because so many young children live there.

“It’s family friendly, and you feel pretty good at night,” Loughran said.

Neighbor Toya Meeks heard “popping” during the night but thought it was her air conditioning unit. She found out when leaving for the gym Thursday morning that her neighbor had been shot.

“It’s a bad feeling,” she said, adding she didn’t know Alston and had never spoken to him.

No one else was in the home when officers arrived, city spokeswoman Debbie George said.

“I don’t know what could have prompted it,” Baughman said. “This is just senseless.”

Anyone who has information is asked to call Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Callers to Crime Line never have to give their names or appear in court, and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.