- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2006

RICHMOND — A neighborhood gang videotaped themselves robbing and assaulting as many as a dozen people in Newport News, police said yesterday.

Six juveniles and two adults have been arrested, and police have identified three other suspects in the attacks.

The videotape features a group of assailants beating their victims with objects including a trash can and a bicycle, threatening victims with a gun and robbing them, Newport News police spokesman Lou Thurston said.

Because of the poor quality of the video, police still were trying to determine exactly how many people were victimized, though there appear to be between six and 12 separate attacks on the tape.

Portions of the video, provided to the Associated Press by Newport News police, show the attackers kicking one victim, who is lying on the ground, before throwing a bicycle on top of him.

Police are looking at 37 attacks that have been reported since January in Newport News, a shipbuilding city about 80 miles southeast of Richmond.

The attacks share similar characteristics to the ones featured on the tape, and police are trying to determine whether the suspects in the videotaped attacks are responsible for the other assaults, Mr. Thurston said.

“When you sit there and watch the whole tape, it just incenses you,” Mr. Thurston said. “It makes you so angry that good people can’t walk down the street in their neighborhood without the fear of being jumped by a bunch of thugs. Everybody’s very angry about it.”

Eric Antonio Newsome, 18, of Newport News, was arrested this week and charged with three counts of robbery, aggravated assault, brandishing a firearm, attempted maiming, discharging a firearm in public and assault and battery by mob in connection with one incident. Ten other charges were issued Wednesday.

Mr. Newsome’s public defender, Earl Wheeler, declined to comment on the case yesterday.

Jamontrel Batts, 19, of Newport News, was charged Wednesday with one count each of robbery, malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit malicious wounding. His court-appointed attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

Mr. Newsome and Mr. Batts were being held at the city jail without bond.

Six juveniles ages 14 to 16 also have been arrested on similar charges and were being held at the city’s juvenile detention center, Mr. Thurston said.

Police learned of the videotape through another investigation and found it in a home last month, Mr. Thurston said, declining to provide additional details.


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