NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Two young boys are without their mother after she was shot and killed in Newport News Saturday night.
Police say 27-year-old Phyllis Vinston was killed near her home at Marshal Courts Apartments on West 34th Street.
Investigators believe one or two men were shooting about a block from Vinston's home a little before 7 p.m. Saturday. Vinston was shot in the crossfire of bullets. Neighbors say she died trying to get her sons away from the gunshots.
The courtyard where Vinston was shot is a place where parents feel safe enough to let their kids play. Now, a make shift memorial in Vinston's honor sits in the courtyard, a reminder of how quickly one's sense of safety can be taken away.
"A bullet doesn't have [a] name. It just makes me scared to have my kids out here," Wanda Brown-Whitehead said. "I didn't even want my kids out here playing."
That is because Saturday night the courtyard where Whitehead's kids plays was a crime scene.
"She stepped off the porch, and 'Bam!' a bullet went right through that young ladies' heart," Whitehead said.
The memorial set up for Vinston is a marker of this young mother's last act to protect her kids. Neighbors say one of her sons was by her side after she was shot.
"It's heartbreaking how this single mother lost her life. She was taken away from her kids. Those boys loved
their mother," Whitehead said.
The shooting took this young mother from her children, and a sense of security from kids like Sharon Kirby's granddaughter.
"When I went to the door my granddaughter screamed out and said, 'Grandmother please don't open the door. They might get you," said Kirby. "She's only seven years old."
Vinston's death may always linger in the courtyard where she died. Some kids want to ease the pain of the sons she left behind with comfort of their own.
"My granddaughter asked me, 'Grandmother, who is watching her kids? They don't have their mommy anymore.' Then she said she would share her mommy with them," Kirby said.
Family members say Vinston was the youngest of six kids. Police say right now they have no new developments in this case . If you know anything call the Newport News Police Department or the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
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