Two people died and five more were injured this Tuesday in a shooting that occurred during a graduation ceremony at a high school in Virginia, United States, local authorities reported.
Seven victims were found with gunshot wounds and later taken to a local hospital, acting Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference.
Two individuals have already been arrested in connection with the attack, Edwards said, adding that the investigation into what happened is still in a “preliminary stage” but there are no longer any active “threats” against the community.
The arrests occurred near Virginia Commonwealth University.
Currently multiple law enforcements are on scene of a mass shooting that took place during a high school graduation ceremony in Monroe Park on the… pic.twitter.com/18sEoB973z
— RAWSALERTS (@rawsalerts) June 6, 2023
Police also said a 19-year-old man who was in custody will be charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
According to preliminary reports, the two deceased were males aged 18 and 36. Their names were not released, but police believe the suspect knew at least one of the victims.
The shooting caused attendees to flee in terror, cry and grab their children, authorities and witnesses reported.
Several police officers who were inside the compound where the graduation was being held reported hearing gunshots around 5:30 pm local time, the officer explained.
These officers called for reinforcements, who later went to the scene, where they found the wounded.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney offered his condolences to the victims and their families during the same press conference, noting that the attack was not only “tragic” but also “traumatic” for those present as it was during a ceremony graduation.
“What comes to mind is asking, is nothing sacred anymore?” said the mayor.
So far this year, 278 mass shootings -with more than four victims, injured or dead- have been reported in the country, according to the organization Gun Violence Archive.