Pregnant woman killed in Richmond drive-by shooting

February 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Gunfire tore through a parked car Wednesday afternoon in Richmond, killing a pregnant mother and critically injuring her boyfriend. It happened in Richmond's notorious Iron Triangle neighborhood on Seventh Street near Lincoln Avenue.

Sharanda Tomas was supposed to be celebrating her son's fourth birthday Wednesday, but the pregnant mother of two was shot repeatedly in broad daylight and police believe four people are responsible.

Balloons and candles now mark the spot where Sharanda Thomas and her boyfriend Duane Leroy Johnson were gunned down. Thomas was six months pregnant. Whether the gunmen knew that remains to be seen.

"I mean we don't know that she was the intended target. We don't know what the motive is so we can't really answer questions to the whys at this point," says Richmond police Sgt. Lori Curran.

Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene. Johnson, the unborn child's father, is in critical condition at the hospital.

The two were inside a parked Oldsmobile when a car with four men inside pulled up. That is when neighbors heard what appeared to be at least two different guns going off.

One neighbor who did not want to be identified said, "I heard gunshots like 10 of them. It was like boom, boom, boom, boom. I heard like different gunshots. One was a loud one and one was like a handgun."

Richmond police say Thomas and Johnson were known to the department. Officers would only say they had been arrested before.

Thomas' family members, though, say they are shocked and puzzled as to how something like this could happen.

"Whatever it was, Sharanda was never involved in nothing heavy. All she did was take care of her responsibilities as a mother so I have no idea," says Jamillion Tucker, Thomas' cousin.

As for Thomas' two young children, they are now left without a mother. The daughter is 5-years-old and the son turned 4-years-old Wednesday. The children's grandfather now faces the painful task of breaking the news.

"That's what he gets? That's what you get in Richmond? killed for your birthday? You're momma gets killed for your birthday?" says Lowell Thomas, Sharanda Thomas' father.

As of Wednesday evening, Sharanda's boyfriend Leroy Johnson remained in critical condition at John Muir Medical Center.

Investigators say the gunmen were in a Chevy HHR, gray or silver in color. The car had tinted windows.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Richmond Police Department.