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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

We're learning more about the circumstances surrounding police shooting Billy Sites last week. His fiance, Christina Martinez, spoke candidly with CBS19 reporters after the shooting. She was there, she said.

Police had a warrant for Sites' arrest — though we still don't know what the warrant was for. Sites was hiding from police at the Red Roof Inn, Martinez said. He planned to turn himself in, but he'd just found out his father was sick and wanted to see him first.

“He just kept asking, ‘I just want to see my dad one time before I go because I know I’m going to be locked up for a long time. And I just want to hug my dad one time because he's probably going to die while I’m in jail,'” Martinez told CBS19.

Martinez said she was in a car with Sites near the hotel on March 1 when police arrived to arrest him. She said he grabbed a gun from the car and ran for the woods, firing two shots — at no one — while he ran. Police called him while he was in the woods and tried to convince him to surrender. He didn't.

There's some disagreement about what happened next. Police say Sites came out of the woods and pointed his gun at officers, who then shot him. Two witnesses who have spoken with local media say that didn't happen. Martinez told CBS19 that Sites pointed the gun at himself, but never at officers. Another witness, Joshua Lucas, told the Daily Progress something similar.

Read more from CBS19 here and the Daily Progress here.

A view of a parking lot with a small market and the words "Sunshine" on the building, with a two-story brick building adjacent.

Sites was not the only person killed in a shooting last week. Justice Kilel, a 20-year-old from Gordonsville, died Saturday afternoon at the Sunshine Supermarket on Cherry Ave. Police have arrested two people and charged them with the shooting. One, a 17-year-old who was also shot during the encounter, is charged with second-degree murder. (As a minor, police have not released their name.) The other is 19-year-old Nasier McGhee, who is charged with malicious wounding. Here is what the Charlottesville Police have released about the investigation.

City Schools naming committee recommends Johnson Elementary School become Cherry Avenue and Burnley-Moran become Blue Mountain

Two more Charlottesville elementary schools are on the verge of getting new names. The City School's renaming committee has recommended that Johnson Elementary School become Cherry Avenue and Burnley-Moran become Blue Mountain. The School Board will vote April 6.

These two schools were named for people who were education leaders during the Jim Crow era of legal racial segregation, and that is the main reason school officials are leaning toward new names. Albemarle County Public Schools is doing the same with its schools. We've written a fair amount about this. If you're just tuning in now, you can read more about these three namesakes in this story. You can also catch up on the last two schools Charlottesville renamed here.

Charlottesville City Schools becomes the third district in Virginia to pass collective bargaining

Finally, Charlottesville City School employees can collectively bargain. The School Board approved the contract last week. It's one of the first divisions in the state to allow it.

Albemarle County Public Schools has not let their employees collectively bargain yet. In fact, that School Board voted against giving its staff collective bargaining power last year. Board members are reconsidering that stance now, though, after around 100 employees and supporters descended on their last board meeting in support of collective bargaining.

That's all I have for you today. See you Friday!

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Dexter Auction's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at [email protected]! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a [email protected].