Tragedy struck in Richmond, Virginia, on Tuesday as a shooting outside a high school graduation ceremony left two people dead and five others wounded. Police have taken a 19-year-old suspect into custody, who now faces two charges of second-degree murder, CBS News reported.
Virginia Shooting During A High School Graduation
The victims have been identified as an 18-year-old man and a 36-year-old man. The 18-year-old, who tragically lost his life, was set to graduate on the same day. The 31-year-old gunshot victim remains in critical condition, while the injuries of four other individuals, aged 14, 32, 55, and 58, are not considered life-threatening.
Richmond Police acting chief Rick Edwards, in a news conference, confirmed the suspect’s arrest and the charges he is facing. Although the motive remains unknown, authorities believe that the suspect was acquainted with at least one of the victims.
Initially, Edwards had stated that two suspects were in custody, but he later clarified that one of them was not believed to be involved in the shooting. During the investigation, four handguns were recovered, but at least one of them belonged to the uninvolved individual.
The tragic incident occurred outside the Altria Theater, situated on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. The graduation ceremony was abruptly canceled when shots were fired shortly after 5 p.m. Off-duty officers present for security inside the venue promptly responded to the scene and discovered the victims. The suspect was apprehended by Virginia Commonwealth University security after leaving the area.
Fortunately, no law enforcement officers were injured, and no shots were fired by the police during the incident. Several individuals received medical treatment for various injuries, including falls and a 9-year-old girl who was struck by a car during the chaos. Three people also required treatment for anxiety. The young girl was treated at the scene before being transported to a local hospital, where her injuries were determined to be non-life-threatening.
According to Chief Edwards, there is no ongoing threat to the community, providing some reassurance to the traumatized residents. Richmond Public Schools announced that the graduation ceremony would be rescheduled, acknowledging the disruption caused by the tragic event.
As the community grapples with this devastating incident, U.S. Rep. Jennifer McClellan emphasized the urgent need to address the gun violence epidemic. McClellan expressed her sympathy and deep concern for the affected families, stressing the necessity to confront this public health crisis and create a safer environment for all.
The Virginia shooting serves as a somber reminder of the ongoing challenges society faces in curbing gun violence and ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals during public gatherings.