Two people were shot dead and several more injured in a shooting outside a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, Va., on Tuesday night, officials said.
Richmond Police Department Deputy Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference Tuesday night that a 19-year-old male suspect was in police custody. “We believe the suspect knew at least one of the victims,” he said.
The shooting occurred just before 5:15 p.m. outside the Altria Theater. He said police officers inside the venue heard gunshots and rushed to the scene, where he found “multiple victims with gunshot wounds.”
At a subsequent press conference, Edwards said the two dead were an 18-year-old man and a 36-year-old man. Authorities have not released the identities of the victims.
Authorities seized four firearms, one of which was “unrelated” to Tuesday’s shooting, Edwards said.
Five others were reportedly shot and injured, although their injuries were not life-threatening. Several other people were taken to local hospitals with non-gunshot injuries, he said, including one who was “hit by a car during a brawl”.
Richmond Public Schools spokesman Matthew Stanley confirmed that the shooting occurred in Monroe Park, adjacent to the Altria Theatre, shortly after Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony. Another ceremony scheduled for Tuesday night was canceled.
A clip posted on social media appears to show the aftermath of the shooting. In one of them, paramedics appeared to be administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the victim. The students were still wearing their gowns and hats. Other artifacts were scattered on the ground.
Jonathan Young of the Richmond City Board of Education said he and his colleagues had just finished celebrating about 300 graduates when they heard a series of about 20 gunshots that “prompted them to make a sprint to get back inside the building. ‘ said. And police immediately rushed to the scene, he said, adding that he had witnessed many people believed to have been injured in what he described as a “stampede”. Young said the shock quickly turned to “disgust and anger”.
A statement posted on the Richmond Public Schools website on Tuesday night said to families, faculty and staff, “A shooting occurred outside Monroe Park after Huguenot High School graduation.” The message said all public schools in the city would be closed on Wednesday as a precautionary measure.
“I’m tired of watching people get shot,” Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamrath said at a news conference. “Our children are being shot. I want the whole community to stop.”
“Our children can’t stand it,” Kamrath said. “Our teachers can’t stand it. Our family can’t stand it anymore. Please don’t do it.”