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18-year-old student and his father shot to death after high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, Va.

June 7, 2023
Five others were wounded in the gunfire outside a theater in downtown Richmond.

A student graduating from a Richmond, Va., high school and his father were shot to death Tuesday minutes after the graduation ceremony ended.

The Associated Press reports that Shawn Jackson, 18, and his father, Lorenzo Smith, 36, were killed outside the Altria Theater in Richmond after a graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School.

Authorities say the alleged shooter, Amari Pollard, 19, targeted Jackson, with whom he had a long-running dispute.

Five other people were wounded in the shooting attack, and at least 12 more suffered other injuries or were treated for anxiety in the aftermath of the shooting.

Pollard was arraigned Wednesday morning on two counts of second-degree murder, prosecutors say.

Jackson had just received his diploma at the graduation ceremony and had walked to a nearby park with his father to reunite with the rest of their family when the shooting started, 

Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said police believe Pollard attended the graduation, then went outside, where he had some kind of “interaction” with Jackson, and then then went to his car to retrieve a handgun. Other guns were also retrieved from the scene.

The five people wounded by gunfire had injuries not considered life-threatening, Edwards said.

Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said all remaining high school graduations in the district will be rescheduled for next week and will be held at schools instead of at the theater. There will be enhanced security, he said.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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