Navy sailor, pregnant wife shot during OfferUp meet-up

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Navy sailor has lost sight in his left eye after he was shot in the temple during what should have been a routine OfferUp exchange on Moton Street in Portsmouth.

Frederick, 20, and his pregnant wife Emily, 18, traveled from their home in Norfolk to Portsmouth around 9 p.m. on Oct. 28 to buy a cell phone from a young girl, according to family members.

When they arrived, six young men surrounded their car and one of them started firing, according to Frederick’s father Randall.

“Somebody put a gun to [Fred’s] head and within seconds pretty much ruined his life,” said Randall, who asked not to use his family’s last name for fear of retaliation.

Still, he wants others to hear about his son’s story to help generate leads about the shooter and any accomplices.

Randall says Emily, who is four months pregnant, got shot in the chest and the bullet “just barely missed her heart by centimeters and missed the baby.”

“I’d like to know why,” said Randall. “This is a senseless shooting. There’s no reason for it.”

Randall says his son crashed after the shooting, but Emily took the wheel and made it to a nearby convenience store on High Street where they were able to get help.

The suspects did not take the $300 cash the couple had on them to buy the phone, according to Randall.

Police say this is one of several recent robberies in the city linked to buy and sell websites. Randall hopes his family’s heartbreak saves another life.

“It’s very easy to create these fake sites, fake phone numbers, fake contact lists,” Randall said. “Be aware of this. Be aware of your surroundings.”

As of Monday night, Fred and Emily raised nearly $7,000 through an online fundraising page.

The Portsmouth Police Department wants people who use OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to only meet in populated and well-lit areas. The department just launched a safe place in front of police headquarters on Water Street downtown.