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Huguenot grad, stepfather killed in Tuesday’s shooting

Scott Elmquist
VPM News
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney walks near Monroe Park on Tuesday following a shooting that left two people dead and five others injured.

A 19-year-old was charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

Eighteen-year-old Shawn Jackson was wearing his graduation gown when he was shot and killed Tuesday after Huguenot High School's ceremony at Altria Theater.

Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said he “can’t shake the image” of Jackson getting CPR while wearing that gown in Monroe Park.

Kamras, along with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and the city’s interim police chief, Rick Edwards, spoke at police headquarters Wednesday morning.

“I didn't know Shawn, but I shook his hand and wished him congratulations about 20 minutes before he died. Those who didn't know Shawn described him as bubbly and the life of the party,” Kamras said. “And he was rightly proud, smiling and celebrating like all of his peers.”

Renzo Smith, the 36-year old stepfather of Jackson, was identified as the second person killed at the park. Five other people — including a 9-year-old girl who was hit by a car while running from the scene — are said to have non-life-threatening injuries, according to officials.

In his remarks, Kamras noted that Jackson was not the only RPS student shot in the last 24 hours.

“Last night, three Armstrong students were wounded in two different incidents. This just needs to stop. I'm tired of the vigils, the well-meaning thoughts and prayers, and the hand wringing,” he said.

Amari Pollard, 19, is currently in police custody. He was charged with two counts of second-degree murder early Wednesday in Richmond City General District Court. Edwards said further charges are pending.

Pollard and Jackson were amid a yearlong dispute, according to Edwards. And at the graduation ceremony, they exchanged words prior to the shooting. Pollard attempted to flee the scene, but was quickly taken into custody.

“For Richmonders, this must be the time that we put down guns and lift up our hearts,” Stoney said. “This must be that moment. We know our history. We know we all want peace. … We want peace. Every elected official here, every community leader here stands together because we are begging our community for peace.”

Three off-duty police officers were providing security at the ceremony, and seven more were nearby directing traffic.

Kamras said high school graduations will be rescheduled starting next week; they will take place at their respective schools, instead of Altria Theater.

Read more: How Richmond Public Schools responds when gun violence affects students