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2 killed, 5 injured in shooting after high school graduation at Virginia Commonwealth University

Two people, including an 18-year-old man who had just graduated, were killed and five others were injured in a shooting Tuesday after a high school graduation ceremony held on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, Richmond police said.

One of two people initially taken into custody, a 19-year-old man, was suspected in the shooting, Richmond’s Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said at a news conference. A second person who was taken into custody was uninvolved, he said.

The suspect, who has not been publicly identified, faces two counts of second-degree murder, the interim chief said. Authorities believe the suspect knew at least one of the victims, he said.

The deceased were identified an 18-year-old student who had just graduated and a 36-year-old man who was there for the ceremony, Edwards said. Police have not released their names.

The five injured victims — all male — range in age from 14 to 58, he said.

One of the victims, a 31-year-old, was being treated for life-threatening injuries, and four had injuries not thought to be life-threatening injuries, police said.

An additional six people sought treatment for conditions including anxiety and falls, police said. One of those was a 9-year-old who was hit by a car, treated at the scene and released, and then checked out by a hospital, where the child remained, Edwards said.

VCU Medical Center in Richmond said it received six patients who ranged in condition from serious to critical, spokesperson Danielle Pierce said by email.

“Children were involved here, at a graduation,” Mayor Levar M. Stoney said. “This is tragic but also traumatic. Because this is their graduation day.”

The shooting took place at Monroe Park, an open space on campus, at 5:13 p.m., authorities said. Four firearms were recovered from the scene, the Edwards said.

Huguenot High School’s graduation was scheduled to be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Altria Theater, adjacent to the park, according to the school’s website.

In a notice posted to the Richmond Public Schools website, the district said the shooting took place in the park after the graduation ceremony. It said all district schools would be closed Wednesday and all high school graduations this week have been canceled.

The university initially said the shooting was part of an “active threat” on campus. School officials later said in a campus alert, “There is no ongoing threat to the community but there is a heavy police presence at Monroe Park.”

On Tuesday evening, Virginia Commonwealth President Michael Rao tweeted: “Graduations should be times of happiness and celebration. Today’s shooting is heart-wrenching and shocking.”

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