UPDATE: The two victims killed in the graduation mass shooting have been identified.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Several local and state leaders have shared statements reacting to the shooting at the Altria Theatre during Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony in which several people were injured.
Governor Glenn Youngkin posted a tweet saying his administration is monitoring the situation.
“My administration continues monitoring the terrible shooting in the heart of Richmond tonight,” said Youngkin in the tweet. “State law enforcement are fully supporting the Richmond Police Department as this investigation moves forward.”
Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears was at the scene of the shooting.
“I’ve been going to a lot of memorial services where people — law enforcement — they have run towards the violence, and I thought, that’s exactly what I need to do as lieutenant governor,” Sears said. “This is not about law-abiding gun owners, this is about gangs … Even if you took all of the guns off the street from the law-abiding citizens, the others who mean harm — who mean to kill and mayhem — they’re going to have the guns. So we have to figure out what is going on in our communities.”
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney posted a tweet asking Richmond residents to avoid the Monroe Park area.
“Currently monitoring the situation at Monroe Park. In touch with RPD and RPS,” Stoney said in the tweet. “Will make information available as it comes in. Please avoid the area.”
United States Representative Abigail Spanberger posted a tweet expressing her grief.
“A shooting outside of a high school graduation ceremony — what should be one of the most exciting, fulfilling moments of a young person’s life,” Spanberger said in the tweet. “I’m heartbroken for the victims, young Virginians, and families involved. My team and I are closely monitoring for updates.”
Virginia State Senator Lamont Bagby posted a tweet saying he is staying in communication with Mayor Stoney’s office.
“Maintaining communication with the Mayor’s office related to the shooting at Monroe Park as they’re working alongside RPD and RPS,” said Bagby in the tweet. “Please be on the lookout for information as they make it available. Until further notice please avoid the area.”
Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds posted a tweet saying he is praying for the people of Richmond.
United States Representative Bobby Scott posted a tweet urging legislators to take action on gun violence.
“My thoughts are with the victims. But we shouldn’t have to live like this,” said Scott in the tweet. “Students shouldn’t fear gun violence at their graduations. Elected officials must have the will to act and address gun violence.”
Richmond Public School Board member Kenya Gibson shared a statement about the shooting.
“We’re still waiting for definitive reports, however, it is clear this is a tragedy. High school graduations are sacred, and right now I feel like all RPS parents feel: devastated. Our children deserve to be safe at school,” Gibson said. “They also deserve to be safe when they celebrate such a monumental accomplishment. This is just unfathomable. There are too many guns in this country, and automatic weapons aren’t the only issue. The adults in the country have failed our children — we need gun control yesterday.”
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine posted a tweet reacting to the shooting.
“My heart breaks to see this horrific tragedy in my hometown. I’m sickened that a high school graduation—an occasion that should be joyous—has turned into unimaginable violence,” said Kaine in the tweet. “We can’t keep living like this. We’ve got to take action to keep our kids safer.”
James Minor from the Richmond branch of the NAACP also released a statement:
“Gun violence is of a major concern to our nation, and especially to the communities served and represented by the Richmond, Virginia Branch NAACP. Curbing that violence, at every opportunity is a concern and major priority. Our condolences go out to all the families in the past and recent homicides in the RVA region. We are praying for all victims affected by this plague of violence and praying for a speedy recovery of the surviving victims and their families.”
A statement was released on the shooting on behalf of the Richmond City Council:
“Those who were able to survive without visible wounds will likely be forever impacted by this violent event. The thoughts and prayers of all members of Richmond Council and all Richmonders are with the students, parents, families, teachers, friends, and loved ones of those whose lives were taken from us and were injured tonight in this terrible tragedy,” Skinner’s statement read in part. “During this difficult time, we know that each person will draw on their personal strength and the strength and faith of their friends and community. We join tonight as one family, one community, and one Richmond. Richmond City Council does do not condone or stand for senseless acts of gun violence. Richmond is a resilient and strong community. While our hearts are heavy for the loss, the unanswered questions as to why linger. We will heal and we will grow stronger.”