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Virginia teen charged in deadly shooting after high school basketball game

Menchville High School gathering on Wednesday
Posted at 1:01 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 13:01:16-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A Virginia high school student has been arrested after the fatal shooting of another teen on Tuesday night.

Newport News Police responded to the scene where a teenager died in a shooting after a basketball game at Menchville High School against Woodside High School.

Police said during the game, there was video footage showing gestures back and forth inside between people. A huge crowd exited the game into the parking lot once the game concluded.

On Wednesday, Police Chief Drew said one person went to a vehicle, then an altercation happened besides that vehicle, and that person was shot.

The victim has now been identified as 17-year-old Justice Dunham, a student at Woodside High School.

Officers gave first aid and CPR to Dunham, but he died from his injuries at the scene.

Chief Drew said an individual was detained and taken to be interviewed Tuesday night. As a result of that interview, 18-year-old Damari Batten, a student at Warwick High School, was arrested.

He was charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm on school property.

According to court documents, witnesses identified Batten as a person in possession of a firearm during the fight. After he was detained, he allegedly told officers he was "jumped."

Court documents say Batten said he left the game early due to a feud with a group in attendance at the basketball game.

He allegedly walked to his friend's car alone and let himself in, then decided to stand next to the vehicle. He was then reportedly approached by four or five people he recognized as part of the feuding group.

Court documents say that Batten entered the vehicle and attempted to close the door. Still, one of the people held the front passenger door and attempted to assault him while others were at the driver's door trying to enter the vehicle and assault him.

Batten said he grabbed a firearm on the floorboard next to his left foot and fired it at the driver's side to get the people away from him.

Batten said he did not know the person he shot and said he did not see anyone else with a firearm or any other type of weapons.

Police added that they found three firearms at the scene. One was used in the shooting death of Dunham, and two others were in the car that Dunham arrived at the game in.

Five officers were working at the game Tuesday night, and police said on Wednesday that they were looking into the possibility that this incident was gang-related but did not give any more information at this time.

The shooting at Menchville High School came after three other shootings in Hampton Roads over the weekend. On Tuesday, Newport News officials held a CARE Walk on Brighton Lane, where another deadly shooting happened.

There was also a report of another shooting the same night near Big Bethel Road, but police said no injuries were reported or property damage.

Web staff at WTKR first reported this story.