RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Witnesses are sharing their memories of what happened after shots rang out at the Altria Theater after Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony Tuesday afternoon, killing two people and injuring several others.
Jackie Johnson was one of the many people at the Altria Theater on the evening of June 6 as she celebrated her granddaughter’s high school graduation.
Johnson said the evening started off full of love and laughter, and that she could never have predicted what she would see and hear minutes after her granddaughter walked across the graduation stage.
“I didn’t think nothing like this will happen,” Johnson said.
Just before bullets started to fly on Tuesday, family and friends were hugging and rejoicing, not knowing the turmoil that would soon follow.
“We were out there taking pictures,” Johnson recalled. “And then all of a sudden, a fight broke out on the side of us. And next thing you know, the young man was walking away and all of a sudden…somebody started shooting. And the other guy, he fell over.”
Johnson described the moment she heard the shots ring out and how her family was forced into immediate survival mode. She remembered her family being brought to the ground and gunfire ringing out around her.
“My daughter kind of pushed me down and got on top of me and my son. She pulled her baby under her, and my son got on us to cover us and he got shot in the leg. We could have been killed,” Johnson continued. “My head was bleeding really bad, and I was just going everywhere. I was so scared.”
Police confirmed that two people were killed in what they are calling “a targeted attack.” 18-year-old Huguenot graduate Shawn Jackson and his stepfather, 36-year-old Lorenzo Smith were both shot and killed.
Johnson still remembered what she was thinking as she was lying on the ground trying to protect her loved ones.
“’I’m going to die.’ I was thinking we were going to die,” Johnson said. “I was worried about my grandkids and everybody because I had a lot of grandkids and kids out there. And I was really wary. And then I couldn’t get that boy out of my head.”
Johnson’s son was sent to the hospital for his injuries but should be home soon.
19-year-old Amari Ty-Jon Pollard was arrested shortly after the shooting. He has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bond at the Richmond jail.