School officials say the shooting took place during a ceremony for the Huguenot High School. Representation Image. janmarcustrapp/Pixabay

Two people lost their lives and five others sustained injuries during a shooting incident at a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, Virginia. The tragic event occurred outside the Atria Theater, causing panic among the students who were wearing their graduation gowns.

The ceremony was held for Huguenot High School. As a result of the incident, another graduation ceremony scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed, and all classes have been canceled on Wednesday.

The victims include an 18-year-old male, who was a member of the graduating class, and his 36-year-old father.

Their identities have not been released by the police yet. Law enforcement has taken a 19-year-old suspect into custody, with Interim Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards stating that the suspect had some familiarity with at least one of the victims.

Initially, another individual found armed with a handgun was detained, but further investigation has led the police to believe that he was not involved in the attack.

The shooting took place in Monroe Park after the conclusion of the ceremony on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, BBC reported.

"Is nothing sacred any longer?" Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney asked at a news conference.

"A child should be able to go their graduation and walk at their graduation and enjoy the accomplishment with their friends and families," he said, calling the shooting a "selfish act."

The university issued an alert to its students on Tuesday, notifying them that law enforcement was present at the scene to address the shooting incident.

"There is no ongoing threat to the community but there is a heavy police presence at Monroe Park," the alert said.

According to Chief Edwards, there were three off-duty officers present inside the theater and an additional seven officers stationed outside to manage traffic. Shots were heard outside the building by police at 17:13 local time (22:13 GMT), he stated.

Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools Jason Kamras said the attack occurred on what "is supposed to be a joyous day when our kids walk the stage and get their diploma".

"I don't have any more words on this I'm tired of seeing people get shot, our kids get shot and I beg of the entire community to stop," he continued.

In addition to the five individuals who were injured by gunfire but in stable condition, there were two individuals who suffered falls, and during the chaotic situation, a nine-year-old girl was struck by a vehicle, the chief further explained.

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