21-year-old dies after being shot at party; community reacts - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

21-year-old dies after being shot at party; community reacts

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AMELIA, VA (WWBT) -

For years, Tyler Manuel has been coming to his cousin's home to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Manuel says the popular field party draws hundreds out every year, including those from neighboring counties and cities.

Sadly, this time around things took a tragic turn.

"Everybody was having a good time. Everybody was on the dance floor, and the next thing I know, POW, POW, gunshots started going off," Manuel said.

Manuel says those gunshots came from this field and continued as cars sped away from the home on Cheathams Road.

Authorities say 21-year-old De'aris Lewis was struck by one of those bullets. He later died at St. Francis Hospital.

"Somebody died over some nonsense from something that should have never be started and everybody was having good time," Manuel said.

Sheriff Walker with Amelia County, several deputies, and a Powhatan county investigator were back at the scene of Sunday's homicide combing the field for evidence.

Neighbors said this is uncommon in the quiet close-knit community. While there have been reports of issues at the party in the past nothing has ever escalated this level.

Manuel, a victim of gun violence himself, says this hits close to home. He was shot in the foot during an altercation years ago.

His heart goes out to the victim's family and hopes that nothing like this happens again.

"You never know what people will do these days and so just be safe watch your back and keep your friends close and your enemies closer," Manuel said.

Police are asking anyone with information on this crime to call Crime Solvers at 804-561-5200.

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