RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A gunman who opened fire minutes after his high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, Va., targeted an 18-year-old alumnus after years of an altercation, police said Wednesday.
Sean Jackson, 18, and his father, Lorenzo Smith, 36, were killed in a shooting Tuesday as hundreds panicked and fled outside the state capital’s Altria Theater after the Huguenot High School graduation ceremony. Police said five other people were injured in the shooting, and at least 12 more suffered other injuries or were being treated for anxiety caused by the unrest.
Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said the shooter, Amari Pollard, 19, knew Jackson and the two had been involved in a feud for over a year. Edwards said the nature of the dispute is still under investigation.
“This was targeted at an individual. …That’s what we know at this point,” Edwards said at a press conference Wednesday.
Pollard was charged Wednesday morning with two counts of second-degree murder, according to Richmond’s top prosecutor, Colette McQueen. Pollard said he plans to hire an attorney, so the court will continue the case until a hearing later this month, McQueen wrote in an email. Pollard was ordered to be held without bail. Court records do not immediately list the name of a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Tameka Jackson-Smith, Jackson’s mother and Smith’s wife, said Jackson had just received his diploma at a graduation ceremony when the shootings began and was with his father to reunite with the rest of the family. I was walking to a nearby park. Although she stated that Smith was Jackson’s father, Edwards later referred to Smith as his father-in-law.
Jackson-Smith told the Associated Press that she and Smith’s 9-year-old daughter were hit by a car in the ensuing chaos. The girl was discharged after receiving treatment for her leg injury, Jackson-Smith said.
According to Jackson-Smith, the family was watching the graduation ceremony but got lost in a large crowd after going outside. “He was so happy that he graduated. Oh my god, he worked hard,” she said of her son.
She said she was walking towards her husband and son when she saw a man run up behind her and start shooting.
“He was just running and shooting. My daughter was next to me and I saw her get hit by a car. My niece was almost hit by a car. Me. was trying to grab them,” she said.
Edwards said police believe Pollard went out after attending graduation and had some sort of “social interaction” with Jackson, then went to his car to get a handgun. Edwards said other guns were also recovered from the scene.
Edwards said authorities were planning to track down the handgun. He said it was not immediately clear how Pollard obtained the handgun. Because Pollard, 19, could not have purchased a handgun for himself from a licensed dealer.
A federal judge in Virginia ruled last month that a federal law banning licensed federal firearms dealers from selling handguns to young people under the age of 21 violates the Second Amendment and is unconstitutional. bottom. The Justice Department has filed a motion asking the government to decide whether to appeal the judgment and to stay a judge-ordered injunction until the appeal is determined.
Edwards said no police officers were injured or had their weapons fired in the incident.
Richmond Public Schools superintendent Jason Kamrath, who did not know Jackson personally, said he shook hands with Jackson and congratulated him at the ceremony about 20 minutes before he died.
“I can’t shake the image of him on the ground receiving CPR,” Kamrath said, still in his graduation gown.
Jackson-Smith said his son enjoyed making rap music and music videos, and also played soccer, basketball and baseball. “Any sport he touched was good for him,” she said.
Her husband, also called “Renzo,” said he was a veteran and a truck driver.
“My husband was very kind,” she said. “He was a caregiver. He had everything a human could want.”
Edwards said the five people injured in the shooting do not have life-threatening injuries.
The superintendent said all remaining high school graduation ceremonies have been postponed to next week and will take place at schools rather than theaters. Security will be tightened, he said.
Edwards said police are asking people who were near the scene of the shooting to call a hotline and send FBI videos and other images stored on their phones.
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https://fox40.com/news/national/ap-us-news/suspect-in-fatal-shooting-after-high-school-graduation-arraigned-on-2nd-degree-murder-charges/ Richmond police announce that a man who shot a gun after graduating from high school in Virginia aimed at alumni