An 18-year-old student who had just received his diploma at his high school graduation and his father were killed when a gunman opened fire as hundreds of people gathered in a park after the graduation ceremony in Richmond, Virginia.
Five other people were wounded on Tuesday in the shooting, which sent hundreds fleeing in panic outside the state capital’s city-owned Altria Theatre after the graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School.
Tameeka Jackson-Smith told The Associated Press her son, Shawn Jackson, 18, and his father, Renzo Smith, 36, died in the shooting. She said she and Smith’s nine-year-old daughter were hit by a car in the chaos that erupted afterwards.
The girl was treated for leg injuries and released from the hospital, Ms Jackson-Smith said.
Ms Jackson-Smith said the family had watched the graduation, then become separated in a large crowd after they walked outside.
“He was so happy — oh my God — because he got to graduate. He worked hard,” she said.
She said she was walking towards her husband and son in a nearby park to reunite when she saw a man run up behind them and start shooting.
“I don’t know if he was shooting at everybody because so many people got shot all over in the area. There were like seven people on the ground,” she said.
Suspect Amari Pollard, 19, was charged on Wednesday morning on two counts of second-degree murder, Colette McEachin, Richmond’s top prosecutor, said.
Pollard said he intends to hire a lawyer, so the court continued the case until a hearing later this month, she said.
Pollard was ordered to be held without bail.
Police believe the suspect knew at least one of the victims.
At least 12 others were injured or treated for anxiety due to the mayhem, according to police.