Gunfire erupted outside a downtown theater on Tuesday after a high school graduation ceremony, sending hundreds of attendees fleeing in fear, weeping, and clutching their kids, according to cops and witnesses. Seven people were shot, two of them fatally.
At a late-night press conference where he announced the two fatalities, Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said a suspect, 19, tried to flee on foot but was apprehended and would be charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
The Altria Theater, a city-owned structure located in the heart of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus and across the street from a big grassy park, sustained five further injuries due to the gunshots outside the state capitol.
At least 12 additional people were hurt or got anxiety treatment.
It was chaos when they heard the gunfire, according to Edwards. “People dispersed in Monroe Park since there were hundreds of us there. At the scene, there was a lot of chaos.
According to Edwards, one of the victims was a graduate student who was 18 years old, while the other victim was a graduate attendee who was 36 years old.
Although the police withheld their names, they believe that at least one of the victims knew the perpetrator, who was not immediately named.
This ought to have been a secure area. People ought to have felt secure at graduation, according to Edwards.
That someone chose to bring a gun to this occurrence and terrorize our neighborhood is miserable, in my opinion.
Late on Tuesday, six persons were taken to VCU Medical Center with symptoms ranging from critical to severe, according to Mary Kate Brogan, a spokeswoman for the VCU Health System.
There were several handguns discovered. Police initially reported detaining two individuals, but Edwards claimed they found only one innocent.
Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond, committed to seeing that those guilty are brought to justice.
Stoney remarked, “This shouldn’t be occurring anywhere.
Around 5:15 p.m., officers inside the theater—where Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony had been held—heard gunfire.
He radioed to police outside, who discovered more victims, according to Edwards.
A graduate and several attendees were exiting the building when they heard about 20 gunshots fired quickly apart, according to school board member Jonathan Young, who spoke to Richmond TV station WWBT.
To escape the shooting, hundreds of people returned to the building as a result, Young added.
He claimed, “It manifested in a stampede.”
According to police spokeswoman Tracy Walker, nine people were treated on the spot for minor wounds or anxiety, while two people were treated for falls, one child was hit by a car and had injuries that were not life-threatening, and one adult was also treated for falls.
Jason Kamras, the superintendent of Richmond Public Schools, claimed that the recent grads were taking pictures outside with their families and friends when the shooting started.
Kamras said, “I don’t have any more words about this. “I’m sick of hearing about people getting shot, especially our kids. And I implore the entire neighborhood to stop.
Neighbor John Willard, 69, came onto his apartment’s balcony and heard gunfire followed by sirens. He witnessed graduates running away below and parents hugging their kids.
Willard stated, “There was one poor woman in front of the apartment building next to ours who was wailing and crying,” the scene moved him.
As the kids departed the ceremony, Edythe Payne assisted her daughter in selling flowers to them outside the auditorium. The shooting, she claimed to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, produced a panic.
When some elderly persons were knocked to the ground at the graduation, Payne recalled, “I felt bad.”
The school system announced that a different graduation set to take place later on Tuesday had been postponed “out of an abundance of caution” and that Wednesday would be a holiday.
The most recent mass shooting in a country that is becoming accustomed to them sparked cries for reform.
We must address the epidemic of gun violence; according to the U.S., Richmond is located in the district of Democratic Rep. Jennifer McClellan.
“Fear cannot be our way of life forever. The core causes of gun violence must be addressed, and sensible gun safety laws must be passed to safeguard our communities.
Republican Lt. Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, a fervent supporter of gun rights, told local news outlets that criminals are the real problem, not weapons.
We must ascertain what is occurring in our neighborhoods, she remarked.