Ocean View Man Sentenced to 2 Years for Shooting Neighbor, Neighbor’s Friend After Dispute
NORFOLK, Va. – Today, 35-year-old Sean Paul Knight was sentenced in Norfolk Circuit Court to an active two years in prison after pleading guilty to shooting and wounding his neighbor and his neighbor’s friend during an argument in 2022.
The night of March 25, 2022, Alec Stewart and his friend Brandon Hall were hanging out in Mr. Stewart’s garage with other friends. Mr. Stewart’s home is located directly across the street from Mr. Knight’s, and the two neighbors had physically fought one another two weeks prior. Mr. Stewart stepped outside for a moment and saw Mr. Knight’s teenage son. The son yelled something to Mr. Stewart, and Mr. Steward responded by yelling something insulting about Mr. Knight but also saying if the teen needed anything he could come over. The teen and Mr. Stewart then both went back inside their homes.
A while later, Mr. Stewart stepped outside anticipating the arrival of another friend. At that point, Mr. Knight arrived at his home and pulled his van into his driveway. Mr. Knight saw Mr. Stewart and immediately confronted him about speaking to his son. The two argued from opposite sides of the street in front of their homes. During that altercation, one of Mr. Stewart’s friends fetched Mr. Hall to come outside and help diffuse the situation. As soon as Mr. Hall reached Mr. Stewart on their side of the street, Mr. Knight from his side pulled out a gun and began shooting at them both. Surveillance footage from a neighbor’s doorbell camera showed Mr. Knight beginning to shoot, dropping back, then approaching the victims and shooting again. Neither victim ever approached Mr. Knight’s side of the street, nor were they armed.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Mr. Knight retrieved his family, packed them into their van, and drove off. Mr. Stewart tried to stop them but was struck by the van as it was leaving. Arriving medics transported Mr. Stewart and Mr. Hall to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, and they were both treated for multiple gunshot wounds. Mr. Knight went to a relative's home and later called 911 to turn himself and his firearm in.
In what was initially scheduled to be his pre-jury trial hearing on March 10, 2023, Mr. Knight pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful wounding and two counts of shooting in the commission of a felony, and Judge Jerrauld C. Jones accepted his plea. While the Commonwealth considered the attack unprovoked, defense intended to argue at trial that Mr. Knight acted after being provoked.
On Friday, Judge Jones sentenced Mr. Knight to two active years in prison with an additional 14 years suspended on the conditions that Mr. Knight complete five years of uniform good behavior, one year of supervised probation and restitution payments to the victims.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Madeline C. Woodruff prosecuted Mr. Knight’s case on behalf of the Commonwealth.