Two people were fatally shot and several others were injured in a shooting outside a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond Tuesday evening, authorities said.
A 19-year-old suspect is in police custody, Richmond Police Department Officer Rick Edwards said at a press conference Tuesday evening. “We think the suspect knew at least one of the victims,” he said.
The shooting happened outside the Altria Theater just before 5:15 p.m. He said officers inside the stadium heard gunshots and responded to the scene, where they “found several people suffering from gunshot wounds.”
The two people killed were an 18-year-old man and a 36-year-old man, Chief Edwards said at a news conference. Authorities have not released the identities of the victims.
Officers seized four guns, but one of them was “unrelated” to Tuesday’s shooting, Chief Edwards said.
Five others were shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, he said. Several others went to local hospitals with injuries other than the shootings, including one who was “hit by a car during the melee.”
Richmond Public Schools spokesman Matthew Stanley confirmed the shooting happened in Monroe Park, adjacent to the Altria Theater, after a graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School students. Another function scheduled for Tuesday evening was cancelled.
Clips posted on social media show the aftermath of the shooting. In one, emergency medical personnel appeared to administer CPR to a victim. Students still wore gowns and caps. Other royal trees were scattered on the ground.
Jonathan Young, a member of the Richmond City School Board, said he and his colleagues had just finished celebrating about 300 graduating students when they heard about 20 consecutive gunshots, which “triggered a mad rush to get back into the building.” Emergency medical personnel and police officers rushed to the scene, he said, seeing several injured people in what he described as a “congestion.” His shock quickly turned to “disgust and anger,” Mr. Young said.
A statement posted on the Richmond Public Schools website Tuesday evening addressed families and staff, “The shooting occurred outside Monroe Park after the Huguenot High School graduation ceremony.” All government schools in the city will be closed on Wednesday as a precautionary measure, the news said.
“I’m tired of seeing people get shot,” Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said at a news conference. “Our children are being shot and I’m asking the whole community to stop.”
“Our kids can’t take it,” Mr. Kamras said. “Our teachers can’t take it. Our family can’t take it anymore. I’m asking you to stop.”