Father and son killed after attending graduation ceremony in Virginia

Francis Akhalbey June 08, 2023
Renzo Smith, 36, and his son Shawn Jackson, 18, were fatally shot after a graduation ceremony -- Photo courtesy family of victims

Authorities in Virginia have arrested and charged a 19-year-old man in connection whit the shooting deaths of a father and son after they attended a graduation ceremony at the Altria Theater in Richmond on Tuesday. 

According to WTVR CBS 6, the fatal incident occurred after Huguenot High School‘s graduation ceremony. Besides the killings of 36-year-old Renzo Smith and his son Shawn Jackson, 18, five other people sustained injuries from the shooting.

Authorities arrested a suspect identified as Amari Pollard after he tried to flee in the wake of the shooting. He is currently being held without bond on second-degree murder charges. “We think the suspect knew at least one of the victims,” Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said.

Edwards also said Pollard was in possession of several weapons at the time he was arrested. Authorities are, however, yet to establish the motive behind the shooting. “I’d like to just express my concerns and sympathy for those who have lost their lives today, and those whose lives were forever changed,” Edwards said. 

“We prepare for an event like this, and we prepared for it with our partners and hoped that this day wouldn’t come, but it came to Richmond today.”

Jackson, who was among the graduates, was making his way out of the ceremony with his father when they were both fatally struck by the gunfire, per PEOPLE. The gunman is said to have opened fire while the graduates, together with their families and friends, were taking photos outside, The Associated Press reported.

“I don’t have any more words on this,” Richmond Public Schools Superintendent, Jason Kamras, said. “I’m just tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot. And I beg of the entire community to stop, to just stop.”

Richmond Mayor, Levar Stoney, also said the shooting had left people traumatized. “Children were involved here… this is their graduation day,” Stoney said. “The question that comes to my mind right now is, is nothing sacred any longer? Is nothing sacred any longer?”

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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