A student at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke was killed in a shooting at a hookah lounge in downtown Blacksburg late Friday. Police are searching for a Roanoke man who killed him and wounded four others.
In a statement released Saturday night, Blacksburg police identified the victim of the shooting as 18-year-old Isaiah O. Robinson. They said Jamel D. Flint, 24, had been issued with six warrants for his arrest: first-degree murder, four attempted first-degree murder, and one count of felony using a firearm.
Police said Flint was considered armed and dangerous and urged anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to exercise caution and contact local law enforcement. The statement from Blacksburg police did not explain why the department waited nearly 20 hours to disclose that an armed and dangerous suspect was at large.
Robinson, a linebacker and running back, mourned in a post on the Patrick Henry football team’s Twitter account Saturday night. It includes a photo of Robinson in a Patriots uniform with the No. 3 jersey on his chest. “Isaiah will be missed and our prayers are with his family, football family and friends,” the tweet said.
Patrick Henry guard Isiah Robinson (left) stops Mountain View running back Ike Daniels in the Division 5D semifinal playoff game in April 2021.
The Roanoke School issued a statement expressing grief and said counselors will be available Monday for students and staff at Patrick Henry and William Fleming High Schools. At the Adam Ward Basketball Classic in Roanoke County, officials observed a moment of silence for a member of the Patrick Henry High School football team who they said died Friday.
The mass shooting near Virginia Tech drew widespread attention, with reports appearing in national news outlets.
Authorities did not release the names of the injured, but Tech President Tim Sands issued a statement saying one of the injured was a student at the university.
Officers received a report at 11:53 p.m., according to two Blacksburg police press releases issued earlier Saturday. On Friday, there was a shooting at the Melody Hookah Lounge at 109 North Street, just blocks from the Tech campus. The statement gave no details of the incident, but said the injured were taken to local hospitals.
Melody Hookah Lounge’s website says it has been closed for private events starting at 8 p.m. It will reopen to the public until Friday at 11pm.
Immediately after the shooting, Tech sent a message through its alarm system urging recipients to stay safe and stay indoors. The warning was lifted at 3:18 a.m.
By then, there were few people to be seen on the cold and windy Main Street, save for investigators placing evidence markers and taking pictures on the sidewalk near the hookah lounge. Watching is a team of heavily armed officers, as well as other officers with dogs. A section of Main Street near Roanoke Street remained closed for more than five hours.
Melody Hookah Lounge went unanswered on Saturday. The company released a brief statement on its Facebook page, saying, “We are deeply hurt and devastated by what happened Friday night, and our condolences go out to all affected family and friends. Going forward, we will add more Multiple precautions and regulations for this situation.”
The Blacksburg Downtown Company also posted a statement on Facebook: “Late night last night, there was a shooting at a business in our downtown. While last night’s events are still coming to light, there is no doubt that our downtown The community has experienced a tragedy. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families during this difficult time.” Saturday’s statement added that some downtown businesses chose to close for the day, but there was no official advice from law enforcement or the town.
Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, released a statement about the incident on his Twitter page: “It is so sad to see another act of gun violence in the Commonwealth this week. My heart goes out to Blacks. The people of Fort and the entire Virginia Tech community.”
Tech President Sands called the shooting “difficult and upsetting for all of us” and offered his condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and his support for the wounded.
Frank Shushok Jr., the university’s vice president for student affairs, released an update on the student Saturday afternoon, saying he had completed surgery and appeared to be recovering. “We appreciate the care and support for him,” Shusuk said.