Virginia, June 7 (BNA) A man armed with four handguns killed two people and wounded five others when he opened fire on a crowd outside a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, Virginia, on Tuesday, police said.
Police said they arrested one of the suspects, a 19-year-old man who knew one of the victims and shot him in the crowd just emerging from a Huguenot high school opening ceremony inside a theater on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, Reuters reported.
The suspect will likely be charged with two counts of second-degree murder in addition to other crimes, Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference.
Edwards described the shooter’s behavior as “disgusting and cowardly”, as his disagreement appeared to be with only one person.
“When you have a crowd like that, innocent people are going to get caught up in the chaos, and that’s what happened today,” Edwards said. “Obviously, this should have been a safe place… It is very tragic that someone decided to bring a gun to this incident and to cast terror on our community.”
The United States has become accustomed to mass shootings in public places such as schools, malls, and churches.
The mass shooting was the nation’s 279th in the first 157 days of 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, using the definition of four or more people shot or killed in a single incident, including the shooter.
Edwards said the dead were men between the ages of 18 and 36. He did not confirm a WWBT news report that the victims were a father and son.
Of those injured, one 31-year-old man was seriously injured, Edwards said, and four other men, ages 14, 32, 55 and 58, are expected to survive.
In addition, a 9-year-old girl was hit by a car in the ensuing chaos, and several other people suffered falls or suffered from anxiety, Edwards said.
He said that the suspect fled the scene on foot and was captured in possession of four pistols, three of which may have been fired, stressing that it is still very early in the investigation.