A shooting after a high school graduation ceremony held at a university in Virginia has left a teen and his father dead, with seven others injured.
On Tuesday (June 6), a high school graduation ceremony held on the grounds of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia had just ended when an individual opened fire on the crowd that gathered in Monroe Park. Shawn Jackson, 18, and his father Renzo Smith, 36, were shot and killed. Five other people ranging in age from 14 to 58, all male, were also injured by the gunfire and were transported to the hospital. One of them is currently being treated for life-threatening injuries. Two other victims took themselves to the hospital for treatment.
Tameeka Jackson-Smith, Shawn Jackson’s mother, told the press that Renzo Smith was in attendance to watch his son graduate from Huguenot High School, with the ceremony held earlier at the Altria Theater. “He was so happy — oh my God — because he got to graduate. He worked hard,” she said of her son. Interim Richmond Police Department Chief Rick Edwards confirmed that a 19-year-old who was one of two people initially taken into custody is the suspected shooter. Edwards also said that they believe he knew at least one of the victims and that the suspect faces two counts of second-degree murder.
The police chief also went on to say that four firearms were recovered from the scene of the shooting. Nine other people at the scene were treated for anxiety, and a nine-year-old (who Jackson-Smith confirmed to reporters was her daughter), who was hit by a car as the incident unfolded was also treated at the scene before going to the hospital, authorities disclosed.
A statement from Richmond Public Schools that evening said that all district schools would be closed on Wednesday and that the remaining high school graduations for the week would be canceled. RPS Superintendent Jason Karmas, still in his graduation robe, spoke to the press while overcome with emotion. “I can’t shake the image of him receiving CPR on the ground,” he began before saying, “I’m tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot, and I beg of the entire community to stop. To just stop. Our kids can’t take it. Our teachers can’t take it. Our families can’t take it anymore. I beg of you to stop.”
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