National News

Richmond Bishop Condemns Deadly, ‘Callous Act’ of Gun Violence At Graduation Ceremony

Law enforcement officers investigate the scene after a gunman opened fire in a park in Richmond, Va., June 6, 2023, as high school graduates and their families emerged from a theater where commencement exercises had just concluded. At least two people were killed and five others wounded, the city’s interim police chief said. (OSV News photo)

By Maria Wiering

(OSV News) — “Words fail to fully express the trauma so many experienced yesterday, and the lives crushed because of it,” Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond, Virginia, said in a statement the day after a June 6 shooting outside a Richmond public high school graduation ceremony. The shooter killed a graduating senior and his stepfather and wounded five others. Additional bystanders were injured in the melee.

“I am immensely grateful for our law enforcement community who, despite the chaos, were there to respond swiftly and bring order to a confusing scene,” Bishop Knestout said in the June 7 statement. A 19-year-old suspect is in police custody.

“Seven months after an act of gun violence took the lives of three University of Virginia college students, we, in our diocese, are faced with another wrenching act of violence,” he said, referring to a University of Virginia student who shot and killed three of the university’s football players Nov. 13.

The June 6 shooting took place in a park outside a theater that hosted Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony, two blocks from the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

“This callous act and subsequent chaotic, terrorizing scene occurred just yards away from our Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, causing fear and pandemonium for so many leaving the ceremony,” Bishop Knestout said. “What should have been a day of celebration for families and of student achievements — instead is marred by gun violence.”

“In this month of June, in which we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus, may our Lord bring consolation and healing to the lives affected and suffering because of yesterday’s violence,” he said. “May he hold their broken hearts in his.”