2 dead, several injured in shooting near Monroe Park
Names were not released as of Tuesday night.
Editor's note: This article followed Tuesday's breaking news event. You can read an update here.
Two people died and several were injured after a shooting outside of Altria Theater on Tuesday, following a Richmond Public Schools graduation ceremony.
All public Richmond high schools were scheduled to conduct graduation ceremonies at the venue next to Monroe Park this week. Initial 911 calls came in around 5:13 p.m. after Huguenot High’s ceremony — the second of eight — had concluded.
Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said late Tuesday that of the seven people shot, one still had life-threatening injuries and four were hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds.
Several others were otherwise injured in the chaos, including a 9-year-old girl who was struck by a car. She was treated at the scene and later transported to a hospital, where she is stable.
Superintendent Jason Kamras indicated the shooting occurred after Huguenot’s graduates left the theater. Wearing a graduation gown for the day’s planned events, he spoke briefly to the press.
"This is supposed to be a joyous day when our kids walk the stage and get their diploma — which is what they all did here for Huguenot today — and walked out the doors into their families' and friends' arms taking pictures. And then this tragedy occurred," he said. "I don't have any more words on this. I'm just tired of seeing it."
All Richmond Public Schools will be closed Wednesday. The school division’s remaining high school graduations for this week — Thomas Jefferson High, Franklin Military Academy, John Marshall High, Armstrong High, Open High and George Wythe — have been canceled. RPS said in a statement posted to its website that those ceremonies would be rescheduled.
Kamras appeared to be holding back tears when speaking to reporters, as did Mayor Levar Stoney — who also expressed frustration and anger.
“Is nothing sacred any longer?” Stoney said. “A child should be able to go to their graduation and walk out their graduation and enjoy the accomplishment with their friends and their families. It’s a selfish act, it’s a senseless act.”
Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears was also onsite.
While two suspects were initially taken into police custody, Edwards said one had since been deemed uninvolved in the shooting and released. The other, an unnamed 19-year-old, is expected to be charged with multiple counts of second-degree murder.
“Obviously, this should have been a safe space, people should have felt safe at a graduation,” he said. “And it's just incredibly tragic that someone decided to bring a gun to this incident and reign terror on our community.”
The ATF, FBI, Virginia State Police and VCU Police are all assisting in the investigation. More information is expected from Mayor Levar Stoney and the city on Wednesday.