Homicide

North Kent Street resident Deborah Collins points to where she found Lorenzo Coles Wheeler lying at 312 N. Kent St. around 10:35 p.m. Tuesday. Wheeler, who had been shot, was taken to Winchester Medical Center, where he later died.

WINCHESTER — When Deborah Collins and her husband Timothy Collins heard a loud bang outside their North Kent Street home about 10:35 p.m. on Tuesday, they thought it might be fireworks until Timothy Collins saw Lorenzo Coles Wheeler lying on his stomach in front of a parked car at 312 N. Kent St.

Deborah Collins said she ran to Wheeler. When she realized he’d been shot, she ran back to her home to get her phone and called 911 at 10:38 p.m. Collins said Wheeler was next to the driver’s side wheel of a Chevrolet V6.

According to Collins, Wheeler was gasping for his breath and told her he was OK, but he was bleeding and clearly in pain. Collins said she waved away passing cars until police arrived about 10:40 p.m.

“I didn’t want that man to get hit,” she said. “I tried to do everything I could to keep the cars away from him.”

Police said Wheeler, 30, who lived in Winchester, later died at Winchester Medical Center. The shooter remained at large on Wednesday evening.

Winchester Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Amanda R. Behan said Wheeler was shot once in the stomach and at least one shell casing was found at the scene, but she was unsure of the caliber. She said narcotics were also found at the scene but was uncertain if the shooting was drug-related. Collins said she saw about 20 pills on the street near Wheeler.

While police haven’t determined the motive for the shooting, Behan said it isn’t believed to be a random killing. She said police, including lead investigator Detective Marti Ivins, are attempting to determine what Wheeler was doing in the area. His rental car was found near where he was shot.

Resident Bryce White, the owner of the Chevrolet, also thought the shot was fireworks. She said she was in her backyard with a friend when she heard a bang and didn’t hear any arguing or screaming before the shot.

“Our windows are super thin so I hear everything that’s going on outside,” she said. “But we didn’t hear anything unusual.”

Wheeler and his wife Kristine moved to Winchester from Crewe in Stafford County a few years ago, according to Eric Williams, who said he and Lorenzo Wheeler had been friends since 2015. Wheeler was convicted of malicious wounding in Stafford County in 2012 and participating in a criminal gang act in 2013. He also had a pending assault and battery charge in Winchester General District Court for an incident on Oct. 26.

Williams described Wheeler as kindhearted and a good friend who loaned him money when he needed it and helped friends move on short notice. Wheeler had spoken about getting older and needing to avoid trouble, said Williams, who added that all people are flawed and Wheeler shouldn’t be judged solely by his criminal history.

“It’s tragic how he died,” Williams said. “Unfortunately sometimes people get caught up in some of the damndest things.”

— Contact Evan Goodenow at egoodenow@winchesterstar.com

(10) comments

skyhighnet

Wow that has to be the most positive thing the Conservative has ever said. This is the 2nd death in that spot. With the Elks Club being the first. Plus the shooting incident of the los tolteco fight that ended on the next block last year. keepin it real Kent St. Glad I'm off and done with you.

Journey2goremtns1

Online Stafford county newspaper. I googled his full name along with Stafford county Virginia.

Journey2goremtns1

Live by the sword die by the sword. This cat was former or currently a gang banger called "Bloodline Imperials" Stafford county Virginia. I guess he came to Winchester to start a new life!

Bryan.the.Nuri

Where did you come upon this information?

Whistle Dixie

Taxpayer relief.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Wait, what?

Conservative

I think he did try to start a new life because if you look at his record in the Stafford County court system, 2013 was the last time he was in trouble. Inciting a riot in jail, suspected gang member, felony assaults, etc. But, nothing since then. Nothing in Frederick County or Winchester Courts either. Sounds like his past may have caught up with him. Hope they catch the killer.

Needtoknow

Thank you for at least trying to educate yourself about him before speaking..but not all is tru

Conservative

He kept his nose clean for 6 or 7 years, so it would appear he learned his lesson. Sorry for your loss @Needtoknow

Needtoknow

Let me tell you something ok..all that live by the sword bs is VERY DISRESPECTFUL TO ME ANd MY BROTHER THAT YOU SPEAK ABOUT! All that imperial bloodline bs was fabricated and made up to cover the jail! My brother was involved in a riot yes..but by then he had already been housed in segregation or the hole for almost a full year and was being mistreated by jail staff!? Him and one other were the only non gang members in that riot.he did time for someone else and came home THE BEST MAN I EVER MET!?! Worked his tail off all day long!?! So if u speak on him do so with RESPECT OR PLZ KEEP TO YOURSELF

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