Gunfire erupts at graduation party, teenager dead, two injured

Posted at 8:57 PM, Jun 10, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-15 00:29:44-04

UPDATE: The memorial service for Tyquan is tonight, and CBS 6 is in attendance.

Here is a photo as the crowd began to gather.

SURRY, Va. (WTVR) Shortly before midnight on Saturday, shots rang out at a high school graduation party, leaving three males shot and one dead.

Police said that the party grew quickly out of control, with over 150 people in attendance at the home on the 2100 block of Alliance Road. The father said that there seemed to be more--estimating about 350 in attendance.

All three victims were from Sussex, and Sgt. Anderson with Surry County Sheriff’s Office said that none of them appeared to be armed.

Tyquan Johnson, age 18, was reported dead on arrival. Keon Butts, also 18, was taken to Norfolk General Hospital with serious injuries and has already been into surgery at least once.

Jontae Smallwood, age 28, was taken to Southside Regional and later released after treatment.

Police are looking for multiple suspects. Despite the amount of people in attendance, police said that everyone took cover when they heard the gunshots, so no good suspect descriptions have surfaced yet.

Sussex Sheriff Raymond Bell said that Johnson graduated on Friday.

Johnson had just graduated from Sussex Central High School.  He was a football star and graduated near the top of his class.  His family says he was planning to attend North Carolina Wesleyan in the fall with a scholarship.

"He was a child that any parent would want," said Johnson’s aunt, Irhanda Ricks. 

The college bound football star also played baseball, was in the National Honors Society with a 3.8 grade point average and had collected countless honors in his young life.

"He was running trying to get in the car and the bullet hit him in his back," said White.

The party was given by another new graduate. Her stepfather called police after he saw the party had grown out of hand.

"It should have never happened, it's a shame and I feel sad for the family," said Jerome King, the homeowner who hosted the party. 

Johnson's mother and his aunt want answers and jail time for the gunman that took Johnson's life and injured two others who were there. They're asking last night's party goers to call police.

"Give them a call and let them know, anything, anybody with a tip to help us out," said Ricks. 

 The sheriff shut down three graduation parties in Wakefield on Friday night, out of concern for possible violence.

There were so many people at the home that Sussex County sent six deputies to assist with Surry County law enforcement.