CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A 23-year-old man faces murder charges after a deadly shooting at the Days Inn Hotel in Charlottesville.
Xavier Grant Murphy has been charged with second-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony after police said he shot 21-year-old Tatiana Wells.
Just before 8 p.m. Friday, Charlottesville police responded to a call for a gunshot wound at the Days Inn on Emmet Street. When police arrived on the scene, they found Wells not breathing and performed CPR. Police say she was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.
Shannon Payne, a witness at the Day's Inn tells NBC29 she didn't want to be on camera. She says she heard the argument and the gunshots.
"All of a sudden I heard another gunshot go off, and then just like a matter of a couple of seconds i heard a gentleman come outside and say, 'I shot my girlfriend by accident,'" Payne says.
Payne says she tried to help Wells, but Murphy wouldn't let her. She says at one point, he threatened to kill himself after the shooting took place.
"He said he was too young to spend the rest of his life in jail for an accident," she says. "That's the reason why he was going to basically end his life also. I told him that wasn't something he should do, you know. He should explain everything to the officers, you know, what happened and everything."
Charlottesville police say the investigation is ongoing.
"At this point we're charging it as second-degree until the Commonwealth's attorney reviews all of the evidence and then they can decide if the charges need to be amended," said Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney.
Wells and Murphy have one daughter together.
Xavier Murphy is the cousin of Alexis Murphy, who was murdered back in 2013. His mother, Trina Murphy, is an advocate for Help Save the Next Girl. Trina released the following statement on Facebook:
"An all too familiar story in my timeline. A beautiful woman’s life cut short by a violent relationship. The only twist today is it’s my child on the other side of the gun. My son is the perpetrator. The very thing I advocate against has been committed by someone I once carried inside me. Tatiana Anisee's family are facing what no one should have to, the death of a child. Auri, my beautiful granddaughter has lost her Mother and Father. My sons actions have altered the course of many lives and the impact will be everlasting. I have always told my children that you must live with the consequences of your actions and nothing has changed. I’m not that Mother that’s going to run to the courthouse and plead for mercy. You took something that you cannot replace and your fate is in GODs hands now. Young women so many times I’ve said it and I’ll say it now Love does not hit you, cuss you or disrespect you that is not love and you need to get out by any means necessary. To Tati’s family if taking my Sons life would bring your daughters back I would do it personally. Please reserve your prayers for Auri, their daughter together, his other two sons who will grow up without their Father and all the lives that have been impacted by this senseless and preventable tragedy."