Amari Ty-Jon Pollard, of Henrico, was arraigned in court less than 24 hours after the tragic shooting. Pollard was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Shawn Jackson, and second-degree murder in the death of Jackson’s stepfather, 36-year-old Renzo Smith.
Multiple others were shot, and several others were injured in the June 6 tragedy — including Jackson’s 9-year-old sister, Renya Jackson Smith, who was hit by a car at the scene as hundreds panicked and chaos unfolded. The girl was taken to the hospital to be treated and later released.
Hundreds had gathered at the Altria Theater to attend the Huguenot High School graduation ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
Jackson had just walked out of the Altria doors a newly-minted high school graduate, when police said an interaction between him and Pollard — who was in attendance at the graduation to see a different person — caused Pollard to go to his car and bring back a gun. Police said it was then that the shooting, and pandemonium, began.
“As they heard the gunfire, it was obviously chaos,” said Acting Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards at the scene. “We had hundreds of people in Monroe Park, so people scattered. It was very chaotic at the scene.”
Edwards said officers inside the Altria heard gunshots outside around 5:15 p.m. and witnesses at the scene told 8News they heard dozens of shots fired. Four guns were eventually recovered at the scene by police.
Two suspects were originally taken into custody for the shooting, but Edwards said it was later determined by police that one of them was not involved. Police have confirmed Pollard and the 18-year-old victim knew each other and had an ongoing dispute.
Pollard is being held without bond at the Richmond City Jail.
During his arraignment, Pollard said he intends to hire an attorney, so the court continued the case until a hearing later this month. His next status hearing will take place on June 21 at 9 a.m.
In a press conference Wednesday, Edwards said after a “highly-charged” event like Tuesday’s mass shooting, there is a likelihood for direct retaliation.