NBC News - A 9-year-old Virginia boy was beaten to death Thursday trying to defend his 11-year-old sister from a brutal rape, police and relatives said.
A male teenage suspect was being medically evaluated while a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to NBC affiliate WWBT in Richmond.
Richmond Police were called at 6:30 p.m. Thursday after the reported attack in the backyard of the siblings' home, located near railroad tracks. The brother and sister were playing together on the track when the suspect approached them and sexually assaulted the girl, police said.
The boy tried to help his sister, and the suspect struck him in the head with a brick, police said. He died at the scene, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The girl was taken to the hospital.
Police hunted for the suspect Thursday night. Initially, he was described as a white male with scraggly facial hair. But investigators said the victim was threatened by the assailant to give false information.
Relatives and neighbors gathered in a circle outside of the home in Richmond’s Southside on Thursday night.
“Nobody expects something like this to happen to the babies in their family,” a relative, who declined to be identified, told WWBT.
Neighbor Tracy Lightsey said the brother and sister were inseparable. The family told her that the boy was trying to fight off the man.
“He felt like he was his sister’s protector,” Lightsey told the Times-Dispatch. “He was his sister’s keeper till his death.”