June 7, 2023: A tragic shooting occurred in Virginia High School, on Tuesday evening after a high school graduation ceremony, resulting in the deaths of an 18-year-old graduate and his 36-year-old stepfather. The incident also left five others injured. The suspect, 19-year-old Amari Pollard, was arraigned on two counts of second-degree murder and is currently in custody without bail.
Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards stated that Pollard had an ongoing dispute with the 18-year-old victim, indicating that the attack was targeted. More charges against Pollard are expected. Additionally, a 9-year-old girl, related to the victims, suffered minor injuries after being struck by a car during the chaotic aftermath of the shooting. The remaining injured victims are in stable condition.
The shooting occurred in Monroe Park, where the high school commencement ceremony was taking place. Hundreds of graduates and guests had gathered in the park adjacent to the Altria Theater. Edwards expressed the tragedy of the situation, emphasizing that this should have been a safe space and lamenting the presence of a gun that brought terror to the community.
Sadly, this incident adds to the alarming number of mass shootings in the United States this year, with at least 279 recorded by the Gun Violence Archive. The violence in Richmond joins the growing list of communities nationwide that have experienced the horror of mass shootings.
The shooting occurred around 5:15 p.m., and off-duty officers providing security at the ceremony immediately reported the gunshots. Responding officers arrived quickly, and though a barrage of gunfire was written, the incident concluded swiftly. The suspect attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended by security officers from Virginia Commonwealth University near Monroe Park.
Police confiscated four handguns from the suspect, although it is unclear now if all of them were used in the shooting. Investigations into the incident are ongoing.
This tragic event serves as a reminder of the urgent need to address gun violence and ensure the safety of communities nationwide.