A man armed with four handguns killed two people and wounded five others when he fired into a crowd outside a graduation ceremony in Richmond, Virginia, police said.
Police said they have arrested one suspect, a 19-year-old man who knew one of the victims and shot him into a crowd that had just left Huguenot High School’s commencement ceremony at a theater on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.
The suspect is likely to be charged with two counts of second-degree murder in addition to other offenses, Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference.
Edwards called the shooter’s behavior “disgusting and cowardly” because his argument was with only one person.
“When you have a crowd like that, innocent people are going to end up in chaos, and that’s exactly what happened today,” Edwards said.
“Obviously, this was supposed to be a safe place … It’s just incredibly tragic that someone chose to pull a gun during this incident and terrorize our community.”
The United States is used to mass shootings in public places such as schools, malls and churches.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the mass shooting was the nation’s 279th in the first 157 days of 2023, defined as four or more people shot or killed in a single incident, not including the shooter.
According to Edwards, the dead were men aged 18 and 36. He did not confirm a report by WWBT television news that the victims were a father and son.
Among the injured, a 31-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening injuries, while four other men, ages 14, 32, 55 and 58, are expected to survive, Edwards said.
In addition, a 9-year-old girl was hit by a car during the ensuing chaos, and many other people were injured in falls or were affected by the excitement, Edwards said.
The suspect fled the scene on foot and was captured with four handguns, three of which may have been fired, he said, stressing that it was too early in the investigation to be certain.