1 of 4 | Blood stains and a bouquets of flowers mark the spot at Monroe Park where 18-year-old high school graduate Shawn Jackson and his stepfather, 36-year-old Renzo Smith were gunned down following the graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School in Richmond, Va., Tuesday night. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
June 7 (UPI) -- Officials on Wednesday identified a graduating high school senior and his stepfather as the two people killed in a shooting after a graduation ceremony in Richmond, Va.
Police identified the victims as 18-year-old Shawn Jackson and 36-year-old Renzo Smith during a news conference Wednesday morning.
Jackson reportedly had a long-running feud with Amari Pollard, the lone suspect in the shooting that unfolded Tuesday about 5:15 p.m. EDT in a park across the street from a theater in which the graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School was being held.
Five people were injured in the shooting, with one in serious condition. A 9-year-old girl suffered minor injuries after getting struck by a car in the ensuing chaos.
Pollard appeared in court Wednesday morning, where he was formally arraigned on two counts of second-degree murder.
The 19-year-old is being held without bail.
"He was not a person on our radar, so that's one of the reasons that it's very surprising that this escalated the way it did," Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said during the news conference.
Richmond Public Schools and offices are closed Wednesday.
Mobile crisis units and grief counselors are being made available, the school district said in a statement on its website.
"Last night, my husband and I had to tell our children school was canceled today and possibly for the rest of the year, because of a shooting at a graduation less than a mile from our home," Rep. Jennifer McClellan, D-Va., who lives in Richmond, said during a speech on the House floor Wednesday.
"Every time there is a shooting, we go through this same routine. Every time my son is afraid, wondering when he will be next. And I hug him and say, 'I am doing everything in my power to make sure that you are safe.'"
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney issued an impassioned plea at a news conference Wednesday.
"Is nothing sacred any longer? ... This should not be happening anywhere. A child should be able to go to their graduation and walk at their graduation and enjoy the accomplishment with their friends and their families," Stoney, a Democrat, told reporters.
"America's mayors stand with Mayor Stoney, this year's Huguenot High School graduates and their families, their teachers and all of those associated with the high school, and the entire Richmond community.
"We agree with Mayor Stoney that 'a child should be able to go to their graduation ... and enjoy the accomplishment with their friends and their families,'" Reno mayor Hillary Schieve, the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said in a statement.
She added: "Despite one deadly shooting after another, state and federal leaders refuse to take action to reduce gun violence. The Senate today and the House next week are considering a resolution that would weaken federal gun safety regulations.
"And many state legislatures are currently focused on loosening gun safety restrictions rather than tightening them."