HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Shawn Jackson and Renzo Smith were remembered during a memorial service and funeral in Henrico County on Thursday. The stepfather and son were shot and killed outside Jackson's high school graduation ceremony in Richmond earlier this month.
Jackson, 18, was remembered as a teenager with an infectious smile.
"He had a lot of challenges, but he never gave up,” former Huguenot High School assistant principal Kevin Olds said about Jackson who almost dropped out of school but in the end kept his promise to graduate "He stepped out of line, ran out up to me, hugged me, and said it was a return on an investment.”
Slain graduate was still wearing his cap when a gunman opened fire in Richmond
Family and friends who spoke at the service urged the community to put an end to gun violence that claimed the life of the recent graduate and his 36--year-old Army veteran stepfather.
“I need the mothers. I’ve talked to so many mothers who have lost family to guns and violence. Please, please, please y’all," Smith's mother Grenda Smith said.
"This is unacceptable behavior," Olds added. "I’m pleading and I’m begging. Let’s put the guns down. We can talk about it.”
“Death is inevitable. It just shouldn’t be like this," Rev. Fred Wyatt said.
New information about Graduation Day shooting; questions remain about guns
Alleged Graduation Day shooter, 19-year-old Amari Pollard, who police said had an ongoing, year-long dispute with Jackson, withdrew from Richmond Public Schools in 2020.
Jackson had been on homebound instruction and not physically attending classes Huguenot prior to his graduation, Richmond Public School (RPS) officials confirmed. The school district has not publicly discussed the reasons behind Jackson's homebound education plan but confirmed it was not due to disciplinary infractions.
CBS 6 is still working to confirm exactly what led up to last Tuesday’s shooting outside Altria Theater that killed Jackson and Smith.
Police arrested Pollard shortly after the shooting. He remains in custody charged with two counts of second-degree murder.
Anyone with information about or photos and video of the shooting can call Major Crimes Detective Crewell at 804-646-5324 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.
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