Man sentenced in Norfolk after fatally wounding father in front of his 2-year-old child

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Dequan Copeland, 31, was sentenced in Norfolk after fatally shooting a father in front of his 2-year-old daughter during an altercation in February 2021.

Tracy Eugene Bellamy Jr., 23, showed up at his ex-wife's home, armed and unannounced, to pick up his daughter. Copeland was dating the woman and was home at the time. Bellamy started arguing with Copeland and demanded to take his daughter away.

After Bellamy put his child in the car, Copeland retrieved a gun from inside the home and fired several shots at Bellamy, fatally wounding him. Bellamy fired back, but missed.

Bellamy tried to flee, but the injuries caused him to crash the car at low speed. Although the child was not hit by the shots, she was nevertheless slightly injured during the accident.

As the child's mother called 911, Copeland picked up the phone to blame Bellamy for the incident. After Bellamy died in the hospital, Copeland fled to Arizona where he was found and arrested a month later.

Copeland was charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit murder, being a felon in possession of a firearm, recklessly discharging a firearm resulting in injury, maliciously shooting at an occupied vehicle and unlawfully shooting at a vehicle. He pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was tried on the other charges for which he was convicted.

On Friday, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison and three years of post-release supervision. This sentence was above the upper end of the Copeland Advisory Sentencing Guidelines.

“Mr. Copeland killed Mr. Bellamy in front of Mr. Bellamy's small child,” said Commonwealth's Attorney Ramin Fatehi. “The last memory this child will have of his father is of his father's death. Mr. Copeland will now spend most of the rest of his life in prison for stealing this child's father and forever alienating Mr. Bellamy from his loved ones. I wish Mr. Bellamy's family peace. hope she will be comforted by the accountability we have achieved today.

Keep checking for updates.

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