Richmond Schools receives letter seeking millions in damages over deadly graduation day shooting

Richmond Graduation Shooting Tameeka Jackson-Smith
Posted at 7:05 PM, Jun 06, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- The mother of the teen who was killed in a shooting outside a Richmond Public Schools graduation last year has started the process of taking legal action against the school district, CBS 6 has confirmed.

Graduate Shawn Jackson, 18, was one of seven people shot in Monroe Park on June 6, 2023, when gunfire erupted shortly following Huguenot High School's commencement ceremony at the Altria Theater.

Jackson and his stepfather Renzo Smith died in the shooting. Five other gunshot victims survived. At least a dozen others were injured in the chaos of the aftermath, according to police.

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CBS 6 has learned that lawyers for Tameeka Jackson-Smith, Shawn Jackson's mother and Smith's widow, sent a demand letter to the Richmond School Board last week.

A demand letter is a document typically sent to an opposing party in an effort to resolve a legal dispute before filing an official claim in court.

According to sources, the letter seeks $11 million in alleged damages. RPS was given until July to respond.

At the center of the allegation, is that RPS should not have allowed Jackson at graduation due to the known safety concerns surrounding his participation.

Richmond Graduation Shooting Tameeka Jackson-Smith
Tameeka Jackson-Smith

A third-party investigation report, only released publicly after CBS 6 and the Richmond Times-Dispatch sued the school board for access to it, revealed school personnel knew of threats of violence against Jackson, which his mother warned them about. The threats were also part of the reason why Jackson was a homebound student, meaning he was not permitted at school or at school events.

Despite this, investigators found RPS allowed Jackson at graduation without "any adherence to required authorizations and without proper vetting and consideration of safety concerns that were known by several members of Huguenot High School."

Jackson-Smith's lawyer Joe Massie said he did not wish to comment on the matter at this time.

An RPS spokesperson told CBS 6, "We don't have a comment on Ms. Jackson-Smith's letter."

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