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GRADUATION SHOOTING: Gunman Reportedly Knew Slain High School Grad, Police Say Shooting Was Retaliation & That The Victim Was ‘Targeted’

Just minutes after a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, VA, chaos erupted when a gunman opened fire. And here’s the chilling twist: the shooter specifically targeted an 18-year-old graduate, Shawn Jackson, with whom he had a simmering feud. The latest details inside…

Shocking details have emerged as detectives dig deep into the aftermath of a deadly shooting that rocked a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, VA. The burning question on everyone’s mind is: What led to this horrifying incident?

Sources have been connecting the dots and sharing details about how this all started with CBS 6 journalist Jon Burkett, shedding light on the connection between the teenage victim, Shawn Jackson, and the suspect, Amari Pollard.

Both Shawn Jackson, 18, and his stepfather, Lorenzo Smith, 36, tragically lost their lives on June 6 after the suspected shooter, Amari Pollard, began shooting in a crowd of people who were all celebrating the 2023 Huguenot High School graduating class. Five others were injured with one person suffering life threatening injuries. At least 12 more suffered other injuries or were treated for anxiety due to the mayhem, according to police.

Also, a nine-year-old girl – Shawn’s little sister – was struck by a vehicle during the chaos and suffered non-life threatening injuries.

According to the authorities, the suspect, 19-year-old Amari Pollard, was no stranger to Shawn Jackson. They had been locked in a bitter dispute that stretched back over a year. Detectives are still digging into the details to understand the full extent of the animosity between these two young men.

Detectives are exploring two theories that might have sparked this horrific incident. The first theory revolves around heated words exchanged between the two at the graduation ceremony held at the Altria Theater. A simple argument escalating into a fatal shooting? It’s hard to wrap our heads around it, but it’s not being ruled out. 

As for the second theory, sources indicate that the 2021 killing of Thomas Jefferson student Daveon Elliott might have a dark connection to this shocking shooting. It turns out that Daveon and the suspect, Amari, were close friends. Could this be a twisted tale of revenge?

Social media posts and music videos showcasing Shawn, an aspiring rapper, contain haunting lyrics alluding to a chest shot. According to reports, Daveon was fatally shot in the chest in Richmond’s Southside a few years ago. Daveon’s death was ruled a justified homicide and multiple sources confirmed Shawn Jackson was part of that police investigation. Sighs.

Jon Burkett also spoke with Daveon’s grieving mother, who shared her heart-wrenching thoughts. Her words echoed with pain and a plea for an end to the cycle of violence.

“I would not wish death or grief on anyone,” she said. “Losing a child is losing a piece of your heart. If rumors are true that this was done out of retaliation for my son, I would ask these kids or people who called my son their friend to stop and end this now. Nothing good will come from it. I’m hurt. My son’s case is closed but I’m going to let God handle it.”

Amari Pollard, who appeared in court on Wednesday, is now facing two counts of second-degree murder. It’s possible more charges could be brought up against him. Many comments on social media are questioning why Amari wasn’t hit with a heavier charge being that he “targeted” Shawn.

During his court hearing, Amari expressed his intention to hire an attorney.

“This was targeted at one individual. … That’s what we know at this time,” Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said during a news conference Wednesday.

Authorities are working diligently to piece together the events leading up to the shooting. They believe Amari attended the graduation and somehow crossed paths with Shawn outside the venue. It’s unclear what exactly transpired during their interaction, but one thing led to another, and Amari retrieved a handgun from his car. Absolutely gut-wrenching.

It’s hard to fathom the horror that unfolded on what should have been a joyous occasion for these graduates and their families. Shawn Jackson had just received his hard-earned diploma, ready to embrace a new chapter in life. But instead, tragedy struck as the celebration turned into a nightmare.

Shawn’s mother, Tameeka Jackson-Smith, recounted the harrowing moments of that fateful day. As they gathered in a nearby park to reunite with their family, shots rang out, chaos ensued, and the unthinkable happened. Amidst the panic, Tameeka and Lorenzo’s 9-year-old daughter was struck by a car, adding another layer of anguish to an already unimaginable situation. Thankfully, she was treated for leg injuries and released from the hospital.

Tameeka tearfully shared her devastation, recounting the joy and pride she felt watching her son graduate. He had worked tirelessly to achieve this milestone. Little did she know that tragedy was just around the corner.

She to Facebook to celebrate her son earning his high school diploma.


“Y’all can say whatever Y’all want, it don’t bother me one bit because I know who my son really was, and what kind of mother I am,” she captioned a photo of Shawn’s diploma. “But while I got yall here make sure to share this and say he worked hard for this. My boy graduated!! Proud mother and wife!! We got real accomplishments going on in my household. #graduate #veteran #armystrong #toughskin #bigruthoffspring”


We need your help. The @FBIRichmond has created a website for those who may have photos and videos that could assist with the investigation of the June 6, 2023, shooting that occurred at Monroe Park following the Huguenot High School graduation.

— Richmond Police (@RichmondPolice) June 7, 2023


As detectives continue to unravel the layers of this Graduation Day tragedy, the police are urging anyone with videos or any information related to the incident inside or outside the Altria Theater to come forward.

We’re sending up prayers for everyone involved in this senseless tragedy. In today’s unsettling reality, even the once joyous occasions like graduation ceremonies have become marred by gun violence, leaving us with a heavy heart and a sense of deep concern for our safety. This has to STOP!

Photos: RPD/Facebook

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