A Navy sailor and his pregnant wife are in the hospital after they were shot multiple times Saturday night trying to meet up with who they thought was a teenage girl selling a cellphone over the OffersUp app.
The Daily Mail reports that Frederick and Emily, who declined to give their last names, were using the personal sales app OfferUp to buy a cellphone from someone who they thought was 18-year-old girl in Portsmouth, Virginia, but turned out to be a group of robbers.
Frederick’s father said that when the couple arrived to meet the “seller,” at least ten people surrounded their car before opening fire into their vehicle. The shooters hit the couple multiple times.
The family of the victims believes that the shooting was linked to a gang initiation, where prospective gang members prove their loyalty by committing a violent crime.
“My son just recently joined the Navy, his wife is pregnant and they were expecting their first child. He had the whole world ahead of him and someone just took it away in a matter of seconds,” Frederick’s father told WTKR.
Emily’s parents said the couple tried to drive away, but Frederick screamed that he could not see where he was going.
Frederick suffered bullet wounds to his arm, head, and chest. He lost an eye and underwent surgery to save the other. Emily, who is four months pregnant, suffered a bullet wound to her chest that just narrowly missed her heart. She suffered a collapsed lung, but her baby is safe.
Family members of the couple told WTKR that the couple refused to be apart since Frederick got out of surgery.
The Portsmouth Police Department tweeted that they are investigating the incident and are asking people to call them if they have any information about the shooters, who are still at-large.
The police department established a designated safe location for people meeting to exchange items bought on the Internet following Saturday’s shooting.