RICHMOND, Va. (TCD) — An 18-year-old and his stepfather died this week when gunfire erupted minutes after the teen received his high school diploma at a graduation ceremony.
On Tuesday, June 6, at 5:13 p.m., several Richmond Police Department officers who were working the Huguenot High School graduation responded to a shooting at Monroe Park near North Laurel and West Main streets. Richmond Police and the Virginia Commonwealth University Police arrived at the scene to assist and located five individuals suffering from gunshot wounds who were then transported to a nearby hospital. Two others reportedly went to the hospital in their own vehicles.
Four victims sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds, while one person suffered a life-threatening injury. Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said in a press conference Wednesday, June 7, that the latter victim’s injuries were downgraded and are now considered non-life-threatening.
In addition to the shooting injuries, a 9-year-old girl was reportedly hit by a car, two others fell, and nine people were treated for “anxiety and minor injuries at the scene.”
Victims ranged in age from 9 to 58 years old.
The victims who died are 18-year-old Shawn Jackson and his stepfather, 36-year-old Renzo Smith.
Police took two individuals into custody, but Edwards later clarified one of the people was not involved in the shooting. Police are seeking second-degree murder charges against a 19-year-old they arrested with additional charges to follow.
Edwards identified the suspect as Amari Pollard and said he is being held without bond.
According to Edwards, Jackson and Pollard knew each other, and he believes the shooting was “targeted at one individual.” The two teens reportedly “had an ongoing dispute.”
At the press conference, Richmond Public Schools superintendent Jason Kamras said, “I didn’t know Shawn, but I shook his hand and wished him congratulations about 20 minutes before he died.”
He added, “Those who did know Shawn described him as ‘bubbly’ and ‘the life of the party.’ Getting to the graduation stage was not easy for Shawn. Nonetheless, he did it and he was rightly proud, smiling, and celebrating like all of his peers.”
Kamras said he “cannot shake the image of Shawn, still on the ground, receiving CPR in his graduation cap.”
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