Shawn Jackson, 18, and his father Renzo Smith, 36, were named as the two victims who were shot and killed on June 6, 2023, when gunfire broke out outside the Huguenot High School graduation in Richmond, Virginia.
That’s according to WTVR-TV, which reported that Community advocate Charles Willis, of United Communities Against Crime, released the names for the family. The shooting occurred outside the Altria Theater on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.
“The family asked that the Richmond community keep them in your prayers,” Willis said to the television station. Tameeka Jackson-Smith, the wife and mother of the victims, also confirmed the victims’ identities to NBC News.
Jackson-Smith shared photos of the victims on her Facebook page, writing, “How do I move on!! 💔” She is program director at Healing Outreach Ministries, according to her Facebook page.
“You could hear the chaos and screaming,” Interim Richmond Chief Rick Edwards said in a news conference. “People were having panic attacks, falling on the ground, screaming.” He said police had prepared for the mass shooting response, however.
“Obviously, this should have been a safe space. People should have felt safe at a graduation. It’s just incredibly tragic that someone decided to bring a gun to this incident and rain terror on our community. It’s disgusting and cowardly behavior.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Police Chief Said 7 People Were Shot a the High School Graduation, Including Shawn Jackson, Who Had Just Graduated From High School
Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said in a news conference that three off-duty officers were working security inside the building, and seven officers were providing traffic control, when the mass shooting occurred.
At 5:13 p.m., officers reported hearing gunshots outside, Edwards said. They notified the officers outside on their radio. Officers on the traffic detail found multiple victims suffering from gunshot wounds, he said.
Seven people were shot in all, and three suffered life-threatening wounds, Edwards said. Two other people ended up at the hospital with injuries other than gunshots. One was hit by a car, and three people reported suffering from anxiety and were treated at the scene or a local hospital, he said.
He originally said two suspects were in custody but later clarified only one is believed to have been the shooter. He said there is not an ongoing threat to the community. In a second news conference, Edwards revealed that two of the victims with life-threatening wounds had died.
He said the surviving person with life-threatening wounds is 31-years-old. The victims without life-threatening wounds are ages 14, 32, 55 and 58, Edwards said.
He said the person struck by a car was 9 years old and has non life-threatening wounds.
Edwards confirmed that the deceased are ages 18 and 36. The teenage victim was a member of the graduating class, he confirmed. He said the older deceased victim “was here for the graduation.”
The gunfire took place outside the theater, the chief said.
Multiple Handguns Were Recovered, Police Say
Edwards said that one of the two people detained was “armed with a firearm,” but it was determined that person was “not involved in the shooting.”
“We think the suspect knew at least one of the victims,” Edwards said, but he did not provide a motive.
He said the suspect in custody is 19, and police believe he was involved in the shooting. He said multiple handguns were recovered.
According to Edwards, security initially detained the suspect. Police are seeking two charges of second-degree murder against him with other potential charges possibly following.
“It was obviously chaos,” the chief said. “It was very chaotic at the scene.” The FBI and ATF are involved in the investigation, according to the police chief.