Williamsburg police work to improve safety on Scotland Street after recent shootings

Local restaurants and bars on Scotland Street are working with police to ensure the area stays safe after two separate shootings occurred there within three months.

Williamsburg police are working to enhance safety on Scotland Street after two recent shootings.

College Delly on Scotland Street in Williamsburg. (Photo by The Triangle)
  • Local restaurants and bars on Scotland Street are working with police to ensure the area stays safe after two separate shootings occurred there within three months.
  • At a City Council meeting last week, Williamsburg Police Chief Sean Dunn said the police department has been collaborating with the owner of Green Leaf Café, College Delly and Paul’s Deli to come up with a plan to deter future incidents. The owner agreed to make numerous changes in order to remain fully licensed by ABC, including cutting off all alcohol sales at 1 a.m., seven days a week.
  • The first recent shooting in the area took place on January 25 around 1 a.m., after a confrontation between two off-duty James City County police officers led to one of the men shooting the other. The incident occurred outside of Brickhouse Tavern, according to investigators. When police arrived at the scene, they found 38-year-old Christopher Gibson suffering from a gunshot wound. Gibson was transported to the hospital. Michael Rusk, 24, was charged after the shooting and indicted by a grand jury in March. Video surveillance and a 9-1-1 recording obtained by WAVY News suggest Rusk believed he was acting in self-defense at the time of the shooting. In an interview with WAVY, Rusk’s father alleged his son was fending off unwanted sexual advancements from Gibson that night.
  • A separate, unrelated incident occurred in March in the same area when a York County man allegedly shot and wounded three other men. Dunn said all of the men involved knew each other. Alvin Lapenze Jackson Jr., 21, was arrested in connection with the shooting several hours after it occurred. An investigation is still underway.
  • Dunn said local businessesshould focus on encouraging responsible drinking to help deter future altercations from happening.
    • “I’m very optimistic about the plan at this point,” Dunn said. “The tighter the inside of the business is being run, the less likely we are able to have the element that wants to come here to create problems, and the more likely folks are to drink responsibly and not over-drink.”
  • Other safety measures the owner of the establishments agreed to implement include:
    • hiring a Williamsburg police officer to be present outside of each business to monitor the premises from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every night,
    • hiring trained private security personnel to staff each of the three establishments nightly from 10 p.m. until thirty minutes after closing,
    • requiring all staff who serve alcohol to participate in alcohol safety training offered by Virginia ABC;
    • improving exterior lighting and upgrading interior and exterior security cameras, and
    • ensuring someone is able to immediately access security footage at each establishment so that the footage can be reviewed right away if any incident occurs.
  • Williamsburg police are also working with Public Works to enhance safety in the surrounding region, Dunn said. Those plans include trimming trees to enhance visibility, installing brighter LED street lighting throughout the street and potentially adding security cameras on traffic lights at the intersection of Richmond Road and Scotland Street.
  • The department has also stepped up its patrolling of the area on a nightly basis to help ensure local residents and students continue to feel safe. He added that the department is also working closely with William & Mary police on the matter.
Several people gather in front of the Green Leafe Café on Scotland Street in Williamsburg on April 18, 2023. The restaurant and bar is one of several establishments working with Williamsburg police to ensure the area remains safe. (The Triangle)

A James City County man was killed in a hit-and-run while walking his dog.

  • A man was killed in a hit-and-run while walking his dog in James City County, according to Virginia State Police.
  • James City County Police were dispatched to the scene of the crash on Fenton Mill Road on Saturday night. At about 11:45 pm, they requested that state police take over the investigation.
  • Investigators say Andrew Davis, 64, was struck in the 4800 block of Fenton Mill Road by a vehicle that did not stop. Witnesses reported that Davis was hit from behind while walking in the eastbound lane.
  • Davis’ dog disappeared after the accident and has not been seen since, according to a social media post made on a local lost and found pets group. “Lost dog” posters have also been placed throughout the community. A witness said the 6-month-old dog stayed with Davis until emergency services arrived but then ran off into the woods. The dog reportedly did not display any signs of injuries before disappearing.
  • Davis was a longtime employee of the 7-Eleven on Croaker Road. Customers who frequent the store say Davis was compassionate, friendly and humble. Friends of Davis are urging the person responsible for his death to come forward. A GoFundMe was set up for the man’s family.
    • “He was so loved, this person was way too loved to not know who did this and know what happened,” Zoe Wallace told 13NewsNow. “Please, please give us closure.” 
  • State police are asking any witnesses who were in the area of Fenton Mill Road or Croaker Road near the time of the accident to call 757-424-6800 or email questions@vsp.virginia.gov.
Police are searching for the driver who killed a James City County resident in a hit-and-run. 

A Williamsburg woman died following a crash on Mounts Bay Road.

  • James City County Police and Kingsmill police are investigating after a woman died following a two-vehicle collision on Mounts Bay Road.
  • Police responded to the accident around 9:20 a.m. on April 14. Gail Sweeney, 68, was traveling westbound in a 2021 Hyundai Venue on Mounts Bay Road when she crossed the center lane and crashed head-on into a 2016 Honda Civic. Both vehicles were occupied by a single individual, and both drivers needed immediate medical attention.
  • Sweeney was transported to Riverside Regional Hospital in Newport News, where she later passed away. The driver of the Civic was also taken to Riverside and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
  • Preliminary evidence indicates that neither alcohol nor speed was a factor in the accident, but a medical event may have been the cause. All lanes of Mounts Bay Road were closed for around two hours after the crash.

Busch Gardens is gearing up to open its new DarKoaster attraction.

  • Busch Gardens is set to open its new DarKoaster roller coaster in May, the park announced on social media last week.
  • DarKoaster will be launching on May 19, according to new information provided by Busch Gardens. The attraction – which Busch Gardens calls the “world’s first all-indoor straddle coaster” – is expected to boost visits to the park and the Williamsburg area this year.
  • DarKoaster is being marketed as a “family thrill ride” that has a height requirement of only 48 inches. It is designed to create the effect of riding on a snowmobile while trying to escape a “supernatural phenomenon” in a raging snowstorm. The coaster is meant to serve as a replacement for the Curse of DarKastle, which closed in the Germany section of the park in 2017, much to the disappointment of many loyal parkgoers.
  • Updates on the ride are expected to be posted to the park’s Twitter and Instagram pages.
DarKoaster – Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s 10th roller coaster attraction – is set to open in May. 

The owner of a Williamsburg restaurant has been charged with tax fraud.

  • The owner of Sportsmans Grille in Williamsburg was charged last Friday with nine counts of tax fraud, according to the Department of Justice.
  • Stephen G. Genakos, 62, skimmed hundreds of thousands of dollars off the restaurant’s books over a several-year period and used most of it for gambling, prosecutors say.
  • According to the indictment, Genakos filed false tax returns from 2016 through 2020 and skimmed more than $670,000 during that timeframe. Over $112,000 was deposited into his personal bank accounts, while more than $502,000 was spent with the Virginia Lottery. The U.S. lost a total of about $113,163 in taxes, according to the DOJ.
  • Genakos’ scheme was ultimately discovered by undercover IRS agents, who posed as potential buyers in 2021 when Genakos listed the business for sale. Upon talking to the agents, Genakos joked about having “magic books” and showed them the falsified records.
  • If convicted, Genakos faces up to three years in prison for each of the nine counts.

CNU students and alumni are speaking out against the university’s handling of sexual assault cases.

  • Students, alumni and staff convened for a forum at Christopher Newport University Monday to call for change after the university allegedly mishandled sexual assault cases.
  • More than 100 people were in attendance at the event, which was organized by “Where is the Line,” a student-led organization. The group drafted a petition and wrote a letter to the administration, urging the university to reform the way its Title IX office handles complaints involving rape and sexual assault claims, according to WAVY News.
  • Title IX is a federal law designed to prevent discrimination at schools throughout the U.S. The Title IX office at CNU is responsible for handling reports of sexual harassment, sexual violence and other prohibited behavior. The office works to ensure the university remains in compliance with the federal law.
  • The allegations: Emily Sullivan, a 2018 graduate, said she was assaulted by two men on campus on the same night while she was a student at the university. Sullivan said that when she filed a report with CNU’s Title IX office, she was told not to go to the police because the school would handle the situation internally. She further alleged that investigators treated her with skepticism and did little to accommodate her.
    • “I lived in the same residence hall as my assaulters and the school would not move them nor would they move me,” she said. “So, I had to see them every day as this investigation was going on.”
  • Another recent graduate, Brooke Nixon, similarly alleged the university did little to act after she reported that a male student had assaulted her on campus. Nixon said investigators tried to intimidate her, telling her that both she and the university could be sued if she pursued the case. She also said she believes the Title IX office is “too closely intertwined” with the president’s office, causing a conflict of interest that prioritizes protecting the university above protecting students.
  • Several professors spoke out to offer support for the students during the forum. The group that hosted the event says they will be meeting with the university’s president, Adelia Thompson, later this week to further discuss the situation and possible solutions.
Students and alumni are calling on Christopher Newport University to change its approach to Title IX complaints after university investigators allegedly mishandled sexual assault allegations.

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