VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A paralyzed military veteran made a special stop in Virginia Beach, as part of an east coast trip that raises money and awareness for the treatment of “invisible wounds.”
Ricky Raley, an Indiana Army National Guard veteran, traveled 120 miles on Thursday from Richmond to Virginia Beach, all on a “Rubber Ducky II” handcycle. Even after all of that cycling, Raley had the energy to stay on his cycle for a quick drag race down 24th Street at the Oceanfront with action sports legend Travis Pastrana. Spoiler alert, Raley won.
“I’ve been on variations of this style of this bike for about ten years now,” said Raley, who has faced a series of challenges in his life.
While serving a combat tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom his convoy experienced an IED blast, which left him with mild traumatic brain injuries. Raley was awarded a Purple Heart.
He returned from deployment in 2009.
Six months later he was left paralyzed from the waist down when he was involved in an auto accident.
Raley’s experiences as a veteran is the reason he is riding 1,500 miles from New York City to Pinellas Park, Florida. “We came home [from combat] with everyone,” Raley said. “But after we got home, within two and a half months, we lost our first guy to suicide.”
In total, he says nine people from his unit have killed themselves since he’s been home.
“I need to stop that. I need to stop that, not just for my guys, but for everyone out there,” Raley said.
Raley is raising money for the Boot Campaign, a national nonprofit organization that runs programs to support veterans who have endured significant physical, emotional and circumstantial hardships resulting from their service and sacrifice.
Raley recently completed the program himself, at the Virginia High Performance Center in Virginia Beach.
“The trauma from being paralyzed was nowhere near the isolation I felt from the traumatic brain injury and the mental cognition issues I was having,” Raley said. “When my son says I’m finally happy again, and that it actually makes him happier, too, that’s what this is all about. We are making families whole again.”
Raley departed Hampton Roads from Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake early Friday, August 17.
He completed his journey to Florida on Aug. 25 and is a little more than halfway to his goal to raise $150,000. To continue following Raley’s journey or to make a donation, you can go to Raley’s webpage.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – As police expand their search to locate a missing mother, her family says text messages reveal she was worried about her safety in the days before she vanished.
More than 200 people, including many strangers, joined the search effort on July 7 and 8 to find Bellamy Gamboa. The mother of four disappeared on July 1.
“She feared for her life,” said Emmanuel Gamboa, her father. “She was absolutely scared.”
Mr. Gamboa didn’t talk specifics with WAVY.com, but he says text messages sent between his daughter and a close friend indicate the 39-year-old was nervous something might happen.
Gamboa was last seen leaving her home at the Diamond Springs Apartments. Her ex-boyfriend, Lamont Johnson, says she left after the two got into an argument. Johnson says he doesn’t know where she went but said it was uncharacteristic of her to leave their twin infants for an extended period of time.
Police say a family member filed a missing person report around 8 p.m. on July 2.
Gamboa’s car was found abandoned the next day, July 3, on Pickering Street in Lake Edward. The car was towed from the neighborhood and police say they found the car at the towing company on July 4 during the course of their investigation, according to spokeswoman Linda Kuehn.
Police notified the public the morning of July 5. Hours later, Virginia State Police issued a Critically Missing Adult (Ashanti) Alert that said Gamboa was likely abducted and in danger.
“A lot of people go missing. Every investigation is different,” said Kuehn, when asked why police waited three days to release information to the public. “It’s when they really determine there is more to it than a missing person.”
Authorities have used boats, drones and helicopters in the search. So far, police say they have found no trace of Gamboa.
“We are keeping our hopes up, but we know time is of the essence,” said Charisse Gamboa, her sister. “Please do not stop looking for Bellamy. Please do not stop caring for Bellamy.”
Detectives were looking at new areas to expand their search on Monday, according to Kuehn.
Family members say they continued their efforts by searching near the train tracks behind Gamboa’s apartment.
“Bellamy, if you hear this, we will not stop until we find you.”
If you see Gamboa know anything of her whereabouts, call the Crime Line at 1 (888) LOCK-U-UP.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Two people have been arrested and charged with conspiring to commit a terroristic act at Bayside High School’s prom over the weekend at The Westin in Town Center.
According to Police Chief Jim Cervera, extra security was in place for the event after the department got word that two people not associated with the school tried buying tickets to prom.
Police and school district officials investigated the matter and say that Michael Coleman, 18, had made threats against specific people within Bayside High’s school zone.
A “tight” security plan coordinated by police and the school district was developed, and police were on the lookout for Coleman.
Police received word that he was staying at The Westin on Saturday evening. When officers tried stopping him outside the hotel, they say he took off running.
Christin Drader says that more than 1,000 people were leaving the nearby Sandler Center at the same time.
“I think that everyone was very shocked, because all you could hear was trampling of feet and officers saying ‘move, everyone move, everybody out of the way.”
Coleman dropped his 9-milimeter handgun gun, but police say he managed to escape.
A search of his hotel room led officers to his 17-year-old alleged accomplice and a a 45-caliber rifle with a fully-loaded magazine.
The teen was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and possession of a firearm by a juvenile.
A spokesperson for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney said the 17-year-old was arraigned Monday, and ordered to remain in secure detention. His trial is set for June 27.
Coleman was arrested by police on Monday in Norfolk, where he was wanted in connection with a shooting incident the day before the attempted attack. Police say he shot at four people on Azalea Garden Road on Friday.
Coleman is charged with four counts of attempted malicious wounding, four counts of use of a firearm and four counts of reckless handling of a firearm.
In addition, police in Virginia Beach have charged him with two counts of carrying a concealed weapon and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.
“My husband and I were talking about how this could have very easily been a Las Vegas situation,” said Drader. “What if the suspects were buying tickets as almost an alibi? So, they would say, ‘hey, we’re here for the prom’ and go up to a room and start shooting at people walking in Town Center.”
Chief Cervera says a potentially disastrous situation was stopped thanks to a proactive approach between the police department and the school district.
Coleman’s grandfather, who did not want his name released, said he was “hurt” by the charges his grandson faces.
“If it’s true, it’s true, but I hate it,” he said. “It hurts me to think that he could do something like this.”
Bayside High School Principal Jim Miller sent this message out to Bayside community Monday afternoon:
Good afternoon, Marlin families. This is Mr. Miller, principal of Bayside High School, calling with information about a police matter related to our senior prom. Over the weekend, two teens who do not attend Bayside High School were taken into custody following a criminal investigation. One of these teens was arrested at our prom’s hotel Saturday night. Please know that we take the safety of our students very seriously. In fact, extra security was on hand at the prom after police advised us of previous neighborhood incidents occurring within the Bayside school zone. I am grateful to the Virginia Beach Police Department and the school division’s Office of Safety and Loss Control who partnered with us to take the necessary steps to ensure our students could safely enjoy their senior prom. Now, it is time for us to turn our attention to this week’s final exams and, of course, graduation. As a reminder, guests must have a ticket to attend the graduation ceremony at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. And, as in past years, attendees will be subject to security checks supervised by the Virginia Beach Police Department. Thank you.
Virginia Beach Police released this statement on Monday:
We would like to thank the members of the community that provided the information that led to these arrests. We would to assure the public that the Virginia Beach Police Department and Safe Schools take seriously all actual or perceived threats to our schools.
This is a developing story. Stay with WAVY.com for updates.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Police and deputies in Virginia Beach are saying an incident described in a viral thread of tweets appears to have not occurred anywhere in Hampton Roads.
The tweets were posted on Wednesday by a woman who identifies herself on the social network as “Hermione Danger.”
In the nearly 40 detailed tweets, she claims her boyfriend was stopped by a police officer in Virginia Beach after giving money to a homeless person at a gas station, then was asked to get out of his car and held at gunpoint.
Within 48 hours after the thread of tweets was posted, it had received more than 200,000 “likes” and more than 130,000 users had ‘retweeted’ it.
The Virginia Beach Police Department responded to the tweets from their official Twitter account the same day it was posted. They said they had no record of this incident and asked the woman to tell her boyfriend to contact their department.
The Newport News Police Department also replied to tweets, stating the incident did not occur in their city. The thread mentioned that her boyfriend made the stop in Virginia Beach after leaving the Newport News airport.
Norfolk Police tweeted “we searched our records and from the information provided, this incident does not appear to involve #NorfolkPD.”
Virginia Beach police released a full statement about the claims the following day. It says their department, as well as the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office, could not find anything in their records to support her story.
The statement also says they have worked with other law enforcement agencies around Hampton Roads, including the Virginia State Police, and none have found anything similar to the incident she describes.
“At this time, this incident appears to have not occurred, or if something did happen, did not occur as described by “Hermione Danger,” said Virginia Beach police. They also mention they reached out to the woman and say have received no reply.
Since the thread went viral, Virginia Beach police say they’ve received heard from many people around the country who have “rushed to judgment” about their agency and their officers.
10 On Your Side reached out to all other Hampton Roads law enforcement agencies and none have been able to find any records matching the incident the she described. WAVY News has also attempted to speak to the woman who made the claims.
Stay on WAVY.com for updates.