Wednesday, September 27, 2023
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Two dead after mass shooting outside Richmond graduation

A 19-year-old is in custody after seven people were shot.

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) — A day for celebration turned to tragedy after a mass shooting outside a high school graduation left a graduate and his step-father dead and others injured in Richmond, Virginia, according to officials.

"This is tragic, but also traumatic," Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said at a press conference Tuesday. "This is their graduation day." 

The shooting occurred on Virginia Commonwealth University's campus in Monroe Park outside of the Altria Theater, which was the site of the Huguenot High School graduation ceremony. The deceased include an 18-year-old student and his 36-year-old father, according to Edwards.

"Is nothing sacred any longer?" Stoney said. "We are going to do everything we can to bring the individuals who were involved with this to justice." 

Three off-duty police officers working as security inside the theater and seven officers outside assisting with traffic control for the busy intersection of Belvidere and Main Street responded to the sound of gunshots, according to acting Richmond Police Chief Rick Edward, who spoke at the press conference. 

"At 5:13 p.m., officers inside the venue at 6 North Laurel reported hearing gunshots outside," Edwards said at the 7 p.m. press briefing held inside Monroe Park. "Responding officers on their traffic detail responded behind me and found multiple victims suffering from gunshot wounds."

According to Edwards, seven people suffered gunshot wounds. He said a 31-year-old who was shot remains in life-threatening condition, and four people had non-life-threatening injuries. Edwards confirmed that four other males, ages 14, 42, 55 and 58, were injured but are expected to be okay. Police said they recovered multiple handguns at the scene.

The panic caused two people to suffer injuries after falling, while another was hit by a car while fleeing. Two people were also treated for anxiety, according to Edwards.

In a video released by CBS6 News Richmond, a man who appears to be older than high school age is seen being apprehended but was later released after investigators determined he was not involved. At a press conference at 9 p.m., Edwards said that the current suspect is a 19-year-old who police believe knew at least one of the victims.

Richmond Public Schools announced the cancellation of school and school activities for Wednesday on its website.

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