RICHMOND, Va. — Seven people were shot, and three of them were left with life-threatening wounds, when gunfire rang out near Virginia Commonwealth University in downtown Richmond following a high school graduation ceremony Tuesday, according to police and school district officials.
Two suspects were taken into custody after the incident, Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference.
Officers inside a theater where the graduation took place heard gunfire outside around 5:15 p.m. and radioed to police stationed outside, who found multiple victims, Edwards said.
Police did not believe there was any ongoing threat to the community. The identities of those in custody and those injured were not immediately released.
“We’re going to do everything we can to bring the individuals involved in this to justice,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said at the news conference. “This should not be happening anywhere.”
In addition to the seven wounded by gunfire, at least two other people arrived at local hospitals with injuries other than gunshots, Edwards said.
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 theater 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 theater 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,” he said.
The school district said a different graduation scheduled for later Tuesday had been canceled “out of an abundance of caution” and that schools would be closed Wednesday.
Associated Press staffers Denise Lavoie and Jonathan Drew contributed to this report.