Virginia high school graduation shooting kills two, injures five

A high school graduation ceremony in Virginia turned tragic when a shooting claimed the lives of a student and his stepfather, leaving five others injured. The incident occurred outside Altria Theater in Richmond, where hundreds of people, many clad in graduation gowns, ran for safety. The police have identified the 19-year-old suspect, Omari Pollard, who is believed to have carried out the targeted attack due to an ongoing dispute.

Renzo Smith, 36 years old, and his 18-year-old stepson, Sean D Jackson, were celebrating the graduation when the shooting began, resulting in their deaths. Amid the chaos, a nine-year-old girl related to the family was also hit by a car and taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Pollard now faces two counts of second-degree murder.

The police managed to apprehend the suspect without firing any shots and recovered several guns from the scene. The five injured victims are reportedly in non-life-threatening condition. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney expressed his grief, stating, “A day that should have been a moment of joy and celebration with friends and family was taken away in seconds and lives changed forever.”

The shooting took place in Monroe Park, opposite the theatre, shortly after the Huguenot High School ceremony concluded. Families and graduates were leaving the theatre when at least eight shots rang out, causing people to run for cover, some carrying young children and babies. Following the attack, emotional reunions took place as graduates hugged and cried.

In addition to the shooting victims, another 12 people were injured during the rush or treated for anxiety due to the chaos. Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards lamented, “This should have been a safe space. People should have felt safe at a graduation.” He added that it was “incredibly tragic that someone decided to bring a gun to this incident and rain terror on our community.”

Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools Jason Kamras expressed his frustration, stating that the attack occurred on what was “supposed to be a joyous day when our kids walk the stage and get their diploma.” He pleaded with the community to put an end to the violence, saying, “I don’t have any more words on this, I’m tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot, and I beg the entire community to stop.”

World News

Chris Hollingsworth

Chris studied journalism in the US and worked there for a few years before moving to Thailand in 2021, just as he thought Covid was coming to an end - sadly more lockdowns ensued as he came out of his 14 days of isolation! He now combines his passion for writing and journalism to cover US and global news for The Thaiger.

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