Richmond shooting: 2 killed, 5 wounded after high school graduation ceremony

RICHMOND, Va. — Two people died and five others were wounded Tuesday in a shooting that took place after a high school graduation in Richmond, police said.

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Police: Suspect, 1 victim killed in shooting knew each other

Update 3:45 p.m. EDT June 7: Authorities confirmed that one of the two people killed in Tuesday’s shooting, 18-year-old Shawn Jackson, knew the man suspected of opening fire following a high school graduation in Virginia.

Jackson and his stepfather, 36-year-old Lorenzo Smith, died after shots rang out following Huguenot High School’s graduation. School district officials said Jackson had just graduated.

Five people were injured in the incident, including a 9-year-old girl related to the slain victims who was hit by a car and suffered minor injuries in the chaos, police said.

Acting Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said Jackson and the shooting suspect, 19-year-old Amari Pollard, knew one another “and they had an ongoing dispute.”

“This is a mass shooting, but we don’t believe it was what’s typically referred to as an active shooter,” the chief said at a news conference Wednesday. “This was targeted at one individual.”

Authorities did not elaborate on the alleged conflict between Jackson and Pollard, although Edwards said it had gone on for more than a year. He confirmed that authorities have not found anything to suggest either were members of a gang.

“This is still a fluid situation,” the chief said. “We’re hours into the investigation and we will learn more as we go.”

The five people who were injured Tuesday were in stable condition on Wednesday, officials said.

Pollard was arrested on two counts of second-degree murder with other charges pending, Edwards said. He is being held without bond.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Suspect named in shooting

Update 10:55 a.m. EDT June 7: Police have released the name of a suspect in a shooting following a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, Virginia, Tuesday evening.

Ameri Ty-John Pollard, 19, was arrested in connection with the shooting that happened after Huguenot High School held graduation ceremonies, WRIC is reporting.

Authorities at the press conference also clarified the relationship between the two people killed in the incident.

Shawn Jackson, 18, and his stepfather Renzo Smith, 36, were shot to death and five others were wounded by gunfire. Several other people suffered minor injuries trying to get away from the shooting, police said.

Jackson’s 9-year-old daughter was hit by a car as she was running from the gunfire, police said.

— Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Victims were father and son

Update 8:39 a.m. EDT June 7: The two people killed in Tuesday’s shooting at a graduation ceremony in Richmond were father and son, WRIC-TV quoted ABC News as reporting.

Eighteen-year-old Shawn Jackson and his father, 36-year-old Renzo Smith, were killed and five other people were shot following Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony outside the Altria Theater.

A 14-year-old boy, a 32-year-old man, a 55-year-old man and a 58-year-old man all have non-life-threatening injuries, according to WTVR. A 31-year-old has life-threatening gunshot injuries, the television station reported.

Jackson’s 9-year-old sister was hit by a car during the incident. She received treatment and has since been released from the hospital, according to WRIC.

— Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Shooter had four handguns, according to police

Update 6 a.m. EDT June 7: According to police, the 19-year-old suspect was armed with four handguns when he shot into a crowd outside of the high school graduation ceremony, killing two people and wounding five others.

Police say the suspect, who has not yet been named, knew one of the victims and shot at him as he came out of the ceremony, Reuters is reporting.

Richmond interim police Chief Rick Edwards called the shooter a “coward.”

“When you have a crowd like this, innocent people are going to be caught up in the mayhem, and that’s what happened today. " Edwards said. “Obviously, this should have been a safe space...It’s just incredibly tragic that someone decided to bring a gun to this incident and rain terror on our community.”

— Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

2 dead after shooting, police say

Update 9:19 p.m. EDT June 6: During a second news conference on Tuesday, Richmond interim police Chief Rick Edwards said that two people were killed and five other people were wounded following Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony outside the Altria Theater in Virginia’s capital city.

According to WWBT-TV, a Huguenot High School graduate and their father were killed. According to WRIC-TV, the victims were an 18-year-old male graduate and a 36-year-old man. Their names have not been released.

Edwards said that a 31-year-old person has life-threatening gunshot injuries. A 14-year-old male, a 32-year-old man, a 55-year-old man and a 58-year-old man all have injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening, according to WRIC.

A 9-year-old child was hit by a car and injured after the shooting, according to the television station. He was treated for injuries and has since been released from the hospital.

At least 12 other people were injured or treated for anxiety, according to police.

“As they heard the gunfire, it was obviously chaos,” Edwards told reporters. “We had hundreds of people in Monroe Park, so people scattered. It was very chaotic at the scene.”

Edwards said that officials believe the suspect knew at least one of the victims, The Associated Press reported.

The shooting happened in Monroe Park, which is adjacent to the Altria Theater, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Edwards said that hundreds of people were in the park at the time of the shooting.

Two people were taken into custody, Edwards said. A 19-year-old was later determined to be a suspect in the shooting and the other person was released from custody, according to WTVR-TV.

Edwards said prosecutors expect to seek charges on two counts of second-degree murder, the Times-Dispatch reported.

Original report: During a news conference on Tuesday night, Richmond interim police Chief Rick Edwards said that three of the people wounded had injuries that were considered to be life-threatening.

WRIC-TV reported that the shooting occurred at about 5:15 p.m. EDT in Monroe Park, across the street from the Altria Theater, during a graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School.

In addition to the wounded victims, police said that two people were injured while falling, one person was hit by a vehicle and three people transported themselves to an area hospital for “anxiety,” according to the television station.

Edwards added that two people were taken into custody, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. He said that there was no threat to the community.

“I want to begin by providing prayers for families involved here not just to those that may have been victims but to those children, children involved at a graduation so words that come to mind is that this is tragic but also traumatic because this is their graduation event,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said during the news conference. “We’re going to do everything we can to bring the individuals involved in this to justice.

“This should not be happening anywhere.”

The shooting was originally confirmed to WRIC by Richmond School Board member Jonathan Young.

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger tweeted her grief, adding that she was “heartbroken.”

The ages of the victims have not been revealed, according to WRIC. It was unclear whether the shooting victims were part of the graduation ceremony.

Richmond Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras pleaded for an end to the violence during the news conference.

“This is supposed to be a joyous day when our kids walk the stage and get their diploma, which is what they all did here for Huguenot today,” Kamras told reporters. The students “walked out the doors into their families’ and friends’ arms, taking pictures -- and then this tragedy occurred.

“I don’t have any more words on this. I’m just tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot, and I beg of the entire community to stop -- to just stop.”

According to a tweet from the Richmond Police Department at 6:34 p.m. EDT, “multiple injuries” were reported but there was “no immediate threat” to the public.

Richmond Public Schools said in a message on its website that the shooting took place in Monroe Park, which is near the campus at Virginia Commonwealth University, The Associated Press reported.

“My administration continues monitoring the terrible shooting in the heart of Richmond tonight,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin tweeted. “State law enforcement are fully supporting the Richmond Police Department as this investigation moves forward.”

All Richmond public school classes were canceled for Wednesday, the Times-Dispatch reported.

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