RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Two people are dead and five others have been injured following a shooting Tuesday afternoon outside a Richmond high school graduation ceremony at the Altria Theater.
The two dead include an 18-year-old Huguenot High School graduate and a 36-year-old man, Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said, while one man has life-threatening injures and four others, ranging in age from 14 to 58, have non-life-threatening injuries.
Cars and police gather around Altria Theater, the site of a shooting at the Huguenot High School graduation, Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Richmond, Va. (Mike Kropf/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
Huguenot High School had been holding its graduation for the class of 2023 at the theater. WAVY-TV 10’s NBC affiliate WWBT NBC12 is reporting that the two who died were a son and his father.
Edwards, in an evening news briefing, said police had initially detained two people, but said one person who had a gun on him was not believed to be connected to the shooting.
The other man, the 19-year-old, fled the scene following the shooting, but was detained by VCU Police and later turned over to Richmond Police. Edwards said police will seek two charges of second-degree murder against him.
“We think the suspect knew at least one of the victims,” Edwards said.
The shooting took place at Laurel and Franklin streets in the area of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park campus in downtown Richmond near the Altria Theater.
Richmond Public Schools said in a message on its website that the shooting took place in Monroe Park, which is near the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, after a graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School. | Steve Helber/AP Photo
A 31-year-old man who was shot is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries, Edwards said, while four other victims – a 14-year-old boy, a 32-year-old man, a 55-year-old man and a 58-year-old man – are hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
A 9-year-old girl was struck by a car and was treated at the scene before being taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Edwards said.
Richmond Police said in a briefing earlier Tuesday evening that seven people were injured and two people are in custody following a shooting Tuesday at Laurel Street and Franklin Street in the area of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park campus in downtown Richmond near the Altria Theater, Richmond Police said.
Three of the people shot are considered to have life threatening injuries, and four others are considered to have non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Another person was also hit by a car near the scene, Richmond Police said, two people were injured by falls and three people took themselves to a hospital for anxiety.
The Altria Theater was the site of Richmond Public Schools graduations, with Huguenot High School’s graduation taking place there at 4 p.m., and another one that was to follow from Thomas Jefferson High School.
Police are saying there is no immediate threat to the public and are asking people to avoid the area.
RPD is on scene for a shooting located at Laurel Street and Franklin Street. Multiple injuries reported. There is no immediate threat to the public.
Briefing to follow. Avoid the area.
Follow our page for the latest updates on this incident.
— Richmond Police (@RichmondPolice) June 6, 2023
Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras just spoke at a briefing about the shooting.
Edwards said three off-duty Richmond Police officers were working inside the Altria Theater during the Huguenot High School graduation and seven additional officers on Belvidere Street.
He said at 5:13 p.m., officers working inside heard gunshots outside and responded to the scene, and officers outside found several people with gunshot wounds on the ground.
“At this point we do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the community,” Edwards said.
Edwards said there would be another briefing at 9 p.m. with additional information.
Stoney offered his prayers to the victims, saying children were involved at a graduation.
“Some words that come to mind right now is that this is tragic, but also traumatic,” Stoney said, “because this is their graduation day. … Is nothing sacred any longer? Is nothing sacred any longer? We’re going to do everything we can to bring the individuals involved with this to justice, not just for the families involved, but for the city.”
Said Kamras: “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 and into their families’ and friends’ arms, taking pictures, and then this tragedy occurred. I don’t have any more words on this. I’m just tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot. I’m begging our entire community to just stop.”
Gov. Glenn Youngkin, in a statement on social media, said that “my administration continues monitoring the terrible shooting in the heart of Richmond tonight. State law enforcement are fully supporting the Richmond Police Department as this investigation moves forward.”
Multiple outlets have reported that there was an active shooter situation there.
VCU sent out an alert saying that the Richmond Police and VCU Police departments, with support from the Virginia State Police and Henrico County Police, are at the scene near the Altria Theater for a shooting incident.
“There is no ongoing threat to the community, but there is a heavy police presence at Monroe Park,” it said. “Richmond Police are leading the investigation.”
Richmond School Board chairwoman Stephanie Rizzi, posting to her Facebook page, said “God. Help us all.”