The staff, students, and faculty of Huguenot High School will never forget the image of Shawn Jackson laying on the floor in his graduation gown receiving CPR, another victim of gun violence in the US.
In a devastating turn of events, the city of Richmond, Virginia, was struck by a horrifying act of violence, leaving the community shattered and mourning the loss of innocent lives.
The incident, a mass shooting that occurred at a local high school graduation near the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), has sent shockwaves across the nation and left a father and son dead, along with many injured.
The shooting that took the life of Jackson and his stepfather took place Tuesday around 5:13 p.m. in Monroe Park following the conclusion of the Huguenot High School graduation ceremony at a nearby theater.
According to police, the suspect, who is currently in custody and was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, watched the graduation ceremony, went to his car to get a handgun, and returned.
Shawn Jackson, the 18-year-old graduate who tragically lost his life, forever altering the trajectory of his dreams and leaving loved ones heartbroken, was said to have an “ongoing dispute” with the 19-year-old suspect Ameri Ty-John Pollard.
“This was targeted at one individual,” Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said.
However, despite the Chief’s words, the incident was still classified as a mass shooting.
Five individuals, including four adults and a 14-year-old boy, were victims of Pollard’s handgun, but fortunately survived. Among them, a 31-year-old victim is currently in critical condition, while the other four sustained injuries that are not life-threatening.
Also, among the injured is Jackson’s 9-year-old sister who was struck by a vehicle and subsequently hospitalized with injuries that are not life-threatening.
According to the police and ABC News, two people were also in of treatment for falls and nine people needed treatment for anxiety and minor injuries at the horrific scene, where students in graduation gowns were seen running away.
“I didn’t know Shawn, but I shook his hand and wished him congratulations about 20 minutes before he died,” Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras said, “Getting to the graduation stage was not easy for Shawn, nevertheless, he did it, and he was rightly proud, smiling and celebrating like all of his peers. Then, just a few minutes later while enjoying the moment with his family in Monroe Park, he was gunned down. I can’t shake the image of him receiving CPR on the ground, still in his graduation gown.”
As a result of the shooting, not only were graduation ceremonies that were scheduled for that day canceled, but all Richmond Public Schools are currently closed.