Two men are dead following a series of shootings that occurred at a restaurant in the 700 block of East Church Street in Martinsville, according to a release from the Virginia State Police.
At approximately 10:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 5), an argument began in the bar area of the El Norteno Restaurant between several patrons.
The argument developed quickly into an altercation and resulted in a 23-year-old male and a 33-year-old male, both of Martinsville, shot. The two men died at the scene.
A third man allegedly fled the restaurant on foot but was pursued by two armed male subjects. When the three of them reached the parking lot outside the restaurant, the two male subjects began shooting at the man. The gunfire from this shooting was overheard by a Martinsville Police Officer on patrol nearby in his vehicle.
The officer immediately responded and approached the men on foot as they allegedly fired at a third man. The officer fired at the two-armed men, striking one of them, the release stated. The two shooters allegedly then retreated into the restaurant. The third man in the parking lot was not injured during either shooting incident, the release added.
Additional law enforcement personnel from the Martinsville Police Department, Virginia State Police, and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office immediately responded to the scene to enter secure the restaurant.
Authorities did this as quickly and safely as possible to rescue about 12 patrons and 20 restaurant employees trapped inside with the two shooters. Additional shots were not fired inside the restaurant as police responded to the scene, made entry, and safely evacuated the remaining patrons and employees, according to the release.
Inside the restaurant, authorities located the two deceased men from the initial shooting and one wounded man. An additional wounded man was found nearby, the release stated.
The wounded men were transported to the hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries. The remains of the two deceased men were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for examination and autopsy. Their identities are being withheld until all next of kin have been notified, according to the release.
No law enforcement officers were injured during the incident.
However, Martinsville Police Chief Eddie Cassady requested the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Salem Field Office to investigate the incident.
A shooting incident that occurred at nearby gas station shortly after the incident at the restaurant is being investigated by the Martinsville Police Department
Investigations into both shooting incidents are ongoing.