Two people have been killed in a shooting that occurred near Virginia Commonwealth University on Tuesday.
Three victims were left with life-threatening wounds, when gunfire rang out after a graduation ceremony that had concluded at the university.
NBC12 have confirmed that there have been two fatalities, and that the victims are “a Huguenot High School grad and the student's father”.
It was initially reported that seven people had been injured when gunfire rang out after a graduation ceremony that had concluded at the university. Three victims had been left with life-threatening wounds.
At the time, gunshots caused attendees to flee in panic, weep and clutch their children, authorities and witnesses reported.
Two suspects were arrested after the shooting, Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference. It remains unclear how many shooters were active and whether the incident was targeted.
At least 12 others were injured or treated for anxiety due to the mayhem.
Police do not believe there is any ongoing threat to the local community.
Officers inside the university's Altria Theater heard gunfire around 5:15 p.m. and radioed to police stationed outside, who found multiple victims, Edwards said.
"We're going to do everything we can to bring the individuals who were involved in this to justice. This should not be happening anywhere," Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said at the news conference.
He continued: “'It's a selfish act. It's a senseless act. And to me, it's cowardice.”
Richmond Public Schools said in a message on its website that the shooting took place in Monroe Park, which is across the street from the theatre and adjacent to the college campus, after a graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School.
School board member Jonathan Young told Richmond TV station WWBT that graduates and other attendees were exiting the theatre when they heard about 20 gunshots in rapid succession.
"That prompted, as you would expect, hundreds of persons in an effort to flee the gunfire to return to the building," Young said. "It materialized in a stampede."
According to police spokeswoman Tracy Walker, two people were treated for falls; one juvenile was struck by a car and sustained injuries that were not life-threatening; and 9 people were treated at the scene for minor injuries or anxiety.
As he heard the gunshots and then sirens, neighbour John Willard, 69, stepped onto the balcony of his 18th-floor apartment to see what was happening below. He saw students fleeing in their graduation outfits and parents hugging children.
"There was one poor woman in front of the apartment block next to ours who was wailing and crying," Willard said, adding that the scene left him deeply saddened.
The school district said a different graduation scheduled for later Tuesday had been cancelled "out of an abundance of caution" and schools would be closed Wednesday.