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Witnesses have recounted the terrifying moment a gunman opened fire outside a Virginia high school graduation leaving a father, 36, and his son, 18, dead.
Seven were shot including the two deceased, who have not been named, in the shooting at Monroe Park after a ceremony at Huguenot High School on Tuesday.
Footage from the scene showed the chaotic moment a gunman opened fire outside the Altria Theater, sending students in graduation gowns running for safety.The 18-year-old who died in the shooting was later confirmed to have been one of the graduates. A motive for the attack remains unclear, but police said an attacker 'knew at least one of the victims'.
Levar Stoney, Richmond Mayor, said at a news conference: 'Is nothing sacred any longer? A child should be able to go their graduation and walk at their graduation and enjoy the accomplishment with their friends and families.'
A 19-year-old was taken into custody and charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Officials have suggested that the incident could be 'gang related' and have called for the criminal justice system to be tougher on people who commit crimes.
Witnesses recounted the terrifying moment a gunman opened fire outside a Virginia high school graduation leaving a father, 36, and his son, 18, dead - one saying it sounded like 'fireworks' going off
Image shows scenes before the shooting took place at the graduation ceremony in Virginia
Law enforcement officers investigate at the scene after a gunman opened fire in Monroe Park
Police maintained a high presence in the area after the gunman opened fire, in Virginia, June 6
Images and video from the scene showed multiple law enforcement officers securing the area with police tape as police warned people to 'avoid the area' as students wept following the attack described as 'disgusting' by Edwards.
A heavy police presence remained on-site at Monroe Park after the attack, first reported by police at 5:13pm local time.
A 31-year-old shooting victim remains hospitalized with life-threatening wounds, police said.
Four shooting victims, a 14-year-old male, a 32-year-old male, a 55-year-old male, and a 58-year-old male, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
A nine-year-old child, who was hit by a car during the chaos, was also taken to hospital but is expected to survive.
Witnesses also recounted their experiences.
Speaking with NBC12, Jason Alexander said he was only 10 feet away from the cross fire when hundreds of people began to scramble for cover.
'We're in the process of waiting for my son to come out,' said Alexander.
'Behind us, probably we're like 10 feet to the back of us. We heard fireworks going off.'
Earlier reports and a video from the scene indicated that the gunman fired about 20 shots.
Alexander said he'd heard less as he maneuvered the chaotic scene in front of him.
'Everybody started running, and I pushed her down on the ground, and we got down on the ground, and it was just chaos from there,' he said.
'You just kept hearing shots. It was just eight, nine, ten shots.'
Alexander's sister, Robin Spencer, gave an emotional account, wiping tears from her face as she spoke of her disbelief to the broadcaster.
'Who the hell would do this on these kids' graduation?' said Spencer. 'There's tons of kids. People are walking around with babies.'
Thomas Sones, a teacher with Richmond Public Schools, said he was quick to find cover.
'Just as I got to the back corner, I heard about 10 shots fired and so people standing in the back of the theatre went down the back stairs and theater security locked the back door immediately. It's just very sad,' he said.
Wide shot shows heightened police presence in the area after the attack on Tuesday June 6
Families and friends of students graduating and bystanders could be seen embracing as they wept at the grisly scene before them
Families and friends of students graduating and bystanders could be seen embracing as they wept at the grisly scene before them.
Jeremy Evans told NBC12 that his daughter had sung at the graduation and that one of her friends were among those injured by the spray of bullets.
'I look at this scenario like we're supposed to be happy about people graduating,' Evans said.
'We're supposed to be supporting one another, holding one another, loving one another, and then a shooting happen. Come on now. I just think it's bad. We have to do better.
'I'm just praying for anybody that got hurt and the family of the victims or whatever the case may be, but it has to stop.'
A video of the moments before the incident which left two dead and seven wounded and hospitalized circulated in the hours after the tragedy.
The footage uploaded to Facebook reveals students from Huguenot High School beaming as they hug their families after the ceremony.
Moments later the person filming the happy students revealed the chaos as hundreds scrambled for cover as shots rung out.
The video doesn't reveal the gunman but about 20 shots can be heard firing off-camera.