Man charged with killing 2 teens in Newport News last year

A 20-year-old man was arrested in the August killings of two teenagers in Newport News.

Camari Alonzo Hayes — who has been locked up since October in a separate shooting case — was charged Monday with two counts of first-degree murder and several gun counts in the slayings of the teens — ages 17 and 15.

Hayes was served with the new arrest warrants at the Newport News City Jail.

“These were two valuable members of our community, two teenagers,” Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said. “Detectives who had to sit with the families to share (the news of the deaths) with them were able to go back now and tell them the news of the arrest.”

Drew spoke to the media Friday afternoon at the scene of the shooting in the 4900 block of Rochester Court, at the Meadow View Townhomes complex in Southeast Newport News.

Police were sent there on Aug. 29, for reports of the shooting. Officers found the two boys on the ground outside with gunshot wounds. One died at the scene; the other died later at a hospital.

The teens did not live in the housing complex, police said. Drew declined to say if Hayes lived there, though he said Hayes and the teens knew each other.

According to Drew, about 70% of the violence in Newport News in 2023 was between people who knew each other.

There had been an “altercation” before the shooting, Drew said, but declined to comment about what led to it. Others may have been involved in the case, Drew said, but he declined to elaborate.

On its way to a record number of homicides last year, Newport News had three separate shooting cases in 2023 in which multiple people were killed in the same incident.

That included a triple homicide that killed three men as well as two double slayings involving teenagers. This was the first of the three cases in which someone has been arrested and charged.

Drew credited cooperative witnesses, good detective work, technology, forensic evidence, and “investigations on other incidents” for getting the charges against Hayes. He did not specify what those other investigations were.

“We owe it to (the victims’ families) first,” Drew said. “That’s part of the reason it took me a little bit before we announced this arrest, but I owe it to this community to not just be here when something tragic happens. (We need) to come back and share with them some of the news, and I wish we didn’t have to have the conversation.”

Court records in Newport News General District Court show Hayes was arrested in October on a series of other felonies. He faces two pending counts of malicious wounding and is also charged with shooting in an occupied building, wearing a mask in public. He also faces several gun charges stemming from an Oct. 9 shooting.

After Friday’s news conference, Drew and about 20 other officers went on a community walk in the neighborhood to knock on doors and chat with residents about the charges.

As the officers fanned out, dozens of children were getting off school buses at the end of the week.

“I look at some of the youth that are out here now, and that’s why we do this job,” Drew said.

Eliza Noe, eliza.noe@virginiamedia.com

Peter Dujardin, 757-897-2062, pdujardin@dailypress.com