RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Two people are dead and five others have been injured following a shooting Tuesday afternoon outside a Richmond high school graduation ceremony at the Altria Theater.

The two dead include an 18-year-old Huguenot High School graduate and a 36-year-old man, Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said, while one man has life-threatening injures and four others, ranging in age from 14 to 58, have non-life-threatening injuries.

Huguenot High School had been holding its graduation for the class of 2023 at the theater.

Edwards, in an evening news briefing, said police had initially detained two people, but said one person who had a gun on him was not believed to be connected to the shooting.

The other man, the 19-year-old, fled the scene following the shooting, but was detained by VCU Police and later turned over to Richmond Police.

During a press conference Wednesday morning, Edwards said the two victims have been identified as 18-year-old Shawn Jackson and 36-year-old Lorenzo Smith, and he confirmed that the two victims were step son and step father.

Lorenzo Smith (left) and Shawn Jackson (right)

Edwards also said that the 9-year-old girl who was hit by a vehicle is related to the victims. The girl is still being treated for minor injuries.

Edwards continued by saying that 19-year-old Amari Pollard was arraigned in court Wednesday morning and has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection to the student. Further charges against Pollard are still pending, according to Edwards.

Amari Pollard (Photo Courtesy: Richmond City Jail)

According to Richmond police, Jackson and Pollard have had an ongoing dispute that has lasted about a year, and they believe this shooting was targeted.

Edwards says that Pollard was attending the graduation when police say they believe there was an interaction between Jackson and Pollard, he then went to his car to retrieve his gun and then returned to the theater.

Edwards also said during the press conference that they do not believe the individuals involved in the shooting were gang members.

Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools Jason Kamras also spoke at the press conference and made a plea to the community to secure their weapons and if they have seen something, say something.

Kamras says that the remaining high school graduations in the city are being postponed until next week and that the ceremonies will be held at the designated schools and will have heightened security.

The superintendent said that a way to remember Jackson and Smith is in the works and the school’s system will provide more information when it becomes available.

Richmond police have been working with the FBI to create a site where witnesses can send videos they have of the shooting. If you have any videos, please submit them on

Watch the full press conference below:

The shooting took place at Laurel and Franklin streets in the area of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park campus in downtown Richmond near the Altria Theater.

A 31-year-old man who was shot is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries, Edwards said, while four other victims – a 14-year-old boy, a 32-year-old man, a 55-year-old man, and a 58-year-old man – are hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Chief Edwards said in Wednesday’s press conference that the 31-year-old man’s injuries have now been downgraded to non life-threatening.

Two people were injured by falls and three people took themselves to a hospital for anxiety, according to Edwards.

The Altria Theater was the site of Richmond Public Schools graduations, with Huguenot High School’s graduation taking place there at 4 p.m., and another one that was to follow from Thomas Jefferson High School before it was postponed.

Police said there was no immediate threat to the public and asked people to avoid the area.

Edwards, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, and Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras spoke at a 7 p.m. briefing Tuesday night about the shooting.

Edwards said three off-duty Richmond Police officers were working inside the Altria Theater during the Huguenot High School graduation and seven additional officers on Belvidere Street.

He said at 5:13 p.m., officers working inside heard gunshots outside and responded to the scene, and officers outside found several people with gunshot wounds on the ground.

“At this point we do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the community,” Edwards said.

Stoney offered his prayers to the victims, saying children were involved at a graduation.

“Some words that come to mind right now is that this is tragic, but also traumatic,” Stoney said, “because this is their graduation day. … Is nothing sacred any longer? Is nothing sacred any longer? We’re going to do everything we can to bring the individuals involved with this to justice, not just for the families involved, but for the city.”

Said Kamras: “This is supposed to be a joyous day when our kids walk the stage and get their diploma, which is what they all did here for Huguenot today, and walked out the doors and into their families’ and friends’ arms, taking pictures, and then this tragedy occurred. I don’t have any more words on this. I’m just tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot. I’m begging our entire community to just stop.”

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, in a statement on social media, said that “my administration continues monitoring the terrible shooting in the heart of Richmond tonight. State law enforcement are fully supporting the Richmond Police Department as this investigation moves forward.”

The local, state and national education associations all condemned the shooting.

“The members of the Richmond Education Association are shocked and saddened that we must respond to another school shooting here in Virginia, this one in our backyard,” REA president Katina Harris said in a statement. “The chaos and mayhem witnessed tonight stood in stark contrast to celebrations happening just seconds before.”

In a statement from VEA president Dr. James Fedderman, he made a connection to the shooting at Richneck Elementary School, which he noted happened six months to the day. He said society cannot tolerate “senseless violence” in our communities.

“I am devastated by (the) horrific mass shooting outside the Huguenot graduation ceremony in Richmond today,” Fedderman said. “It’s been five months to the day since the shooting of an educator in Newport News, also in our state. When will I stop having to react to these terrible events? While there is much we do not yet know about this attack, here’s what we do know: all our children deserve to be safe from gun violence.”

NEA president Becky Pringle said “thoughts and prayers simply are not enough to keep our communities safe. This is yet another reminder of the horrifying realities students, parents and educators face every day. We are heartbroken. We are tired. We are angry.

“We must continue to come together to end the preventable epidemic of gun violence that is tearing this country apart. And to those so-called leaders who refuse to do anything to protect our babies from being murdered, we will hold you accountable.”

Multiple outlets initially reported that there was an active shooter situation there, and VCU sent out an alert saying that the Richmond Police and VCU Police departments, with support from the Virginia State Police and Henrico County Police, are at the scene near the Altria Theater for a shooting incident.

“There is no ongoing threat to the community, but there is a heavy police presence at Monroe Park,” it said. “Richmond Police are leading the investigation.”

Richmond School Board chairwoman Stephanie Rizzi, posting to her Facebook page, said this:

“God. Help us all.”

Governor Glenn Youngkin posted on Twitter Tuesday night following the shooting.

Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer also took to Facebook to express his condolences following the shooting: