On Tuesday, a shooting at a high school graduation at a downtown theater in Richmond, Virginia, left two dead and five others injured.
According to the Associated Press, police arrested a 19-year-old suspected of committing the shooting at the Altria Theater. The shooter will be charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
The shooting occurred around 5:15 pm, following a graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School.
“As they heard the gunfire, it was obviously chaos,” Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said during a news conference. “We had hundreds of people in Monroe Park, so people scattered. It was very chaotic at the scene.”
Among those killed was an 18-year-old who just graduated and a 36-year-old who had attended the graduation. The names of the victims and the suspect have not yet been released. According to police, the suspect reportedly knew one of the victims.
In addition to the fatalities, five others were injured from the gunfire.
“This should have been a safe space. People should have felt safe at a graduation,” Edwards said. “It’s just incredibly tragic that someone decided to bring a gun to this incident and rain terror on our community.”
As noted by VCU Health System spokesperson Mary Kate Brogan, six people were taken to VCU Medical Center late Tuesday, with their conditions ranging from serious to critical.
Police also recovered multiple handguns and had initially arrested a second suspect before determining that person had no involvement.
During the incident, School board member Jonathan Young told Richmond TV station WWBT that graduates and other attendees were exiting the theater when they heard roughly 20 shots in rapid succession.
“That prompted, as you would expect, hundreds of persons in an effort to flee the gunfire to return to the building,” Young explained. “It materialized in a stampede.”
Meanwhile, Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said the shooting occurred while graduates were outside taking photos with families and friends.
“I don’t have any more words on this,” Kamras said. “I’m just tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot. And I beg of the entire community to stop, to just stop.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Stephen Barnes
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.