Virginia Paper Learns Reporter Died In Shooting When It Tries To Assign Her The Story

Editors at The Virginian-Pilot wanted Sierra Jenkins to cover a shooting at a local restaurant, not realizing she was one of the victims.

A newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia, discovered one of its reporters had died in a shooting on Saturday after editors attempted to have her cover the tragedy.

Sierra Jenkins, 25, who reported on education for The Virginian-Pilot, was supposed to cover the breaking news desk on Saturday. So when word broke out of a shooting outside Chicho’s Pizza Backstage, editors reached out to assign her the story.

But it turned out Jenkins herself was one of two people killed in the shooting, which also wounded three others, according to The Associated Press.

Jenkins’ family said she was dining at Chicho’s with her best friend, and the restaurant and bar were closing when an argument started outside. Shots broke out and Jenkins was caught in the line of fire, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Portsmouth resident Devon Harris, also 25, was pronounced dead at the scene, while three other men were wounded, including one who sustained life-threatening injuries.

No arrests have been announced in the shooting.

Jenkins, a Norfolk native, had attended Georgia State University. She worked as an intern at Atlanta magazine and CNN before joining the Pilot in 2020, according to Fox News.

Denise Watson, features editor at the Pilot and a mentor to Jenkins, said the late journalist “was everything you’d want in a colleague and reporter. And she had just started. There’s no telling what she could have done.”

Kris Worrell, the editor-in-chief of Virginia Media, which operates The Virginian-Pilot, described Jenkins as “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. “Sierra was funny and energetic and full of enthusiasm. We are absolutely heartbroken.”

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