RICHMOND, Va. -- The impact of the Graduation Day shooting on Tuesday in Richmond is great.
While the families of those lost, Huguenot High School graduate 18-year-old Shawn Jackson and his stepfather Renzo Smith, are hit the hardest, the negative effects have rippled through Shawn’s classmates and their families.
Xavier Liggins, 17, another graduating Huguenot Falcon, and his mother, Donna, sat down with CBS 6 anchor GeNienne Samuels to share how their feelings of joy and excitement were quickly smothered by emotions of terror and fear.
Xavier shared that he walked across the stage to receive his diploma and was filled with a sense of accomplishment and joy. He finally did it!
He recalled feeling overwhelmed with excitement when they finally announced that his class officially graduated.
After the ceremony, he went outside and greeted his family in Monroe Park to take pictures and celebrate.
His mom remembered having only minutes to enjoy her son's accomplishment before violence erupted.
“All of a sudden, shots just started ringing out. And they were so loud. Very loud. And that’s why we felt we were very close.” Donna Liggins said. “My oldest son pretty much just got us down. Quick. And held us down. The ground didn’t seem low enough. I wanted the ground to be even lower. And just open up and swallow us in until we could come out.”
The family was able to leave the park, get to their cars, and head to a safe place.
Days later, Xavier coped through the written word, with a message to his classmates. in part saying, “My graduation was supposed to be peaceful and a reliever. It was supposed to be amazing for my mom, and all our families to actually see us achieve something… and move to the next stage of life… It’s just sad to say that our graduation had to be like that, for us, for our families and loved ones.”
Xavier continues with inspiring words for his classmates.
“You have reached a great milestone in your life. So hold on to that moment where you are proud of yourself and happy. The world needs your unique skills and techniques. Go forth and make a difference to make our society better and peaceful.”
This was just a small part of powerful words from Xavier. Watch his entire message below.
Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email firstname.lastname@example.org to send a tip.
EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews