A Virginia journalist tragically turned out to be a victim in a shooting that she was asked to report on. According to USA Today, 25-year-old Sierra Jenkins, an education reporter for The Virginian-Pilot; was one of two people fatally shot at Chicho’s Pizza Backstage in Norfolk, Virginia on Sunday (March 20).
According to the outlet, a fight broke out outside the bar around 1:30 a.m. local time and shots were fired. One man, 25-year-old Devon Harris, was pronounced dead at the scene and Jenkins, who was caught in the crossfire, suffered “a life-threatening gunshot wound.” She was transported to the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where she tragically passed away.
According to police, three others were also shot, including a woman with life-threatening injuries.
Jenkins reportedly joined The Virginian-Pilot in December of 2020 after working as an intern at Atlanta Magazine and CNN. Her family said she “wasn’t much of a going-out kind of person,” but was out that night with her best friend who was visiting. The Norfolk native, who just celebrated her 25th birthday last week, was also the godmother to her friend’s child.
Kris Worrell, the editor-in-chief of Virginia Media, which operates The Virginian-Pilot, also shared a statement about her passing.
“Sierra was a bright and talented woman with so much going for her. Her passion for journalism was undeniable and our community is better because of her reporting,” Worrell said. “We are absolutely heartbroken.”
One of Jenkins’ coworkers, Jane Harper, revealed she was tasked with covering the shooting after the outlet was unable to reach Jenkins, who normally covered breaking news stories.
“I’ve covered more murders than I can count during my reporting career but today’s will always stand out. Among the victims was my sweet colleague Sierra Jenkins,” Harper tweeted. “I was asked to fill in for her today when editors couldn’t reach her. We found later why.”
On Twitter, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin reacted to the tragedy, writing, “Our hearts are breaking for the lives lost in Norfolk, including Sierra Jenkins. The First Lady and I are praying for their families, friends, and the Virginian-Pilot community.”
Dorothy Tucker, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, also wrote, “The entire @NABJ family is wrapping our arms around the family, friends and colleagues of @virginianpilot reporter, Sierra Jenkins. This a tragic loss of a beautiful, young, intrepid reporter.”
Police are still investigating the shooting and no arrests have been made. See tweets about the tragedy below.
— Dorothy Tucker NABJ (@Dorothy4NABJ) March 19, 2022
Our hearts are breaking for the lives lost in Norfolk, including Sierra Jenkins.
The First Lady and I are praying for their families, friends, and the Virginian-Pilot community.https://t.co/dG4J5RaLvv
— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) 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. pic.twitter.com/mlArrBL06K
— The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot) March 19, 2022