Richmond Police: Suspect and graduate victim had on-going, year-long dispute
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond officials have provided new details about the mass shooting that left two people dead and injured five others in Monroe Park after Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony.
“A day that should have been a moment of joy and celebration with friends and family was taken away in seconds, and lives changed forever,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.
During a press conference Wednesday, acting Police Chief Rick Edwards said 19-year-old Amari Ty-Jon Pollard of Henrico has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, and more charges are pending. He is being held without bond.
“This was targeted at one individual, and so they knew each other and had an ongoing dispute,” Edwards said.
Edwards says Pollard and 18-year-old Shawn Jackson had an ongoing, year-long dispute. Pollard attended the graduation, there for another person.
Police say Pollard and Jackson exchanged words inside the theater, and then Pollard retrieved a handgun from his car and began shooting near Monroe Park.
“This is the beginning stages,” Edwards said. “They knew each other. This was a dispute that we’re hearing took place over the course of over a year, and words were exchanged.”
Pollard was arraigned in court Wednesday morning and will have a status hearing on June 21 at 9 a.m.
Edwards also confirmed the two victims who died are Jackson and 36-year-old Lorenzo Smith. Jackson received his diploma moments before he was shot.
“I didn’t know Shawn, but I shook his hand and wished him congratulations about 20 minutes before he died,” said Jason Kamras, Richmond Public Schools Superintendent.
Police said the five other victims who sustained gunshot wounds have now non-life-threatening injuries. Edwards also confirmed four other males, ages 14, 42, 55 and 58, were injured but are expected to be okay.
Six others sustained injuries unrelated to the gunfire. Three reported needing to be transported to the hospital for anxiety, two were injured from falls, and a 9-year-old was hit by a car as they were running away from the area. That child is also expected to be okay.
During Wednesday’s press conference, police also confirmed that the 9-year-old injured was related to Jackson and Smith.
Investigators have not determined at this time if the shooting is gang-related.
Kamras says that schools will be closed Wednesday, and remaining graduations have been postponed. Kamras has not said if schools will be closed for the rest of the week.
“We will heal. We will recover. This will not break us,” Stoney said.
Watch the press conference here:
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