(RICHMOND, Va.) — A father and son were killed and several others were hurt in a mass shooting following a high school graduation in Richmond, Virginia, police said.
The suspect, 19-year-old Ameri Ty-John Pollard, is in custody in connection with the shooting, which unfolded in a park on Tuesday after the Huguenot High School graduation ended in a nearby theater.
The suspect watched the graduation ceremony, after which it appears he went to his car to get a handgun and then returned, police said.
Killed in the shooting were Huguenot High School graduate Shawn Jackson, 18, and his father, Renzo Smith, 36.
Pollard and Jackson knew each other and had an “ongoing dispute,” Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference Wednesday.
“This was targeted at one individual,” Edwards said.
“I didn’t know Shawn, but I shook his hand and wished him congratulations about 20 minutes before he died,” Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said at Wednesday’s news conference. “Those who did know Shawn described him as bubbly and the life of the party.”
“Getting to the graduation stage was not easy for Shawn, nevertheless, he did it, and he was rightly proud, smiling and celebrating like all of his peers,” Kamras said. “Then, just a few minutes later while enjoying the moment with his family in Monroe Park, he was gunned down. I can’t shake the image of him receiving CPR on the ground, still in his graduation gown.”
Five people were shot and survived: four adults and a 14-year-old boy, authorities said. One victim, a 31-year-old, is in the hospital in life-threatening condition while the other four suffered non-life-threatening injures, authorities said.
Several others suffered various injuries in connection to the shooting. Jackson’s 9-year-old sister was hit by a car and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Two people were treated for falls and nine people were treated for anxiety and minor injuries at the scene, police said.
The shooting took place around 5:13 p.m. in Monroe Park, near Virginia Commonwealth University, officials said. The scene was near the Altria Theater, which was scheduled to host several graduation ceremonies for Richmond Public Schools on Tuesday.
Students in graduation gowns could be seen running away.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney called the shooting a “selfish, senseless act.”
“A child should be able to go to their graduation and walk up to graduation and enjoy the accomplishment with their friends and their families,” Stoney told reporters.
Thomas Jefferson High School’s graduation ceremony scheduled for Tuesday night was canceled and all Richmond Public Schools are closed Wednesday.
Pollard made his first appearance in court Wednesday where he was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and held without bail. He’s due back in court on June 21.
ABC News’ Lauren Minore and Laryssa Demkiw contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.