A lone gunman opened fire outside the ceremony, which took place at the Altria Theater near Monroe Park, leaving two people dead and five others injured.
A tragic incident unfolded on Tuesday evening in Richmond, Virginia, as a high school graduation ceremony turned into a scene of terror
The city’s interim police chief, Rick Edwards, revealed that amidst the chaos, some individuals sustained injuries while trying to escape, including a 9-year-old girl who was struck by a car.
Initially, two individuals were detained, but subsequent investigations determined that one was not involved. The remaining suspect, a 19-year-old who is believed to have known one of the victims and was found in possession of four handguns, was taken into custody. Police intend to recommend two counts of second-degree murder against him.
The victims, an 18-year-old student who had just graduated and a 36-year-old man who attended the ceremony, have not been identified. The shooting occurred at Monroe Park shortly after the graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School concluded. The park is located on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, across the street from the theater.
Among the injured were a 14-year-old boy and four men ranging in age from 31 to 58, all suffering from gunshot wounds. Thankfully, four of the injured individuals had non-life-threatening injuries, according to Chief Edwards. The 9-year-old girl hit by a car also had non-life-threatening injuries and received medical treatment.
Three off-duty officers providing security at the graduation ceremony immediately responded to the sound of gunshots
They alerted other officers on traffic duty, leading to a swift response by law enforcement. The suspect attempted to flee but was apprehended by the VCU police. Expressing deep concern, Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney questioned the loss of sacredness in society and pledged that justice would be served for the victims and the city as a whole.
In the wake of the tragedy, another high school’s graduation ceremony, which was scheduled to take place at the Altria Theater, was canceled. The incident has left the community shaken, with Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras expressing exhaustion and a plea to end the cycle of violence.
An initial alert issued by Virginia Commonwealth University reported the shooting at Monroe Park, but an hour later, it was confirmed that there was no longer an ongoing threat.