‘You just kept hearing shots’: Witnesses recount mass shooting in Monroe Park

Robin Spencer: “Who the hell would do this on these kid’s graduation?”
"Who the hell would do this on these kid’s graduation?”
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 12:11 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 6:11 AM EDT

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Jason Alexander went to the Altria Theatre to see his son graduate from Huguenot High School. However, he witnessed terrifying moments unfold after the ceremony when gunshots rang out in Monroe Park.

Mass Shooting
Mass Shooting(Source;WWBT | WWBT)

“We’re in the process of waiting for my son to come out,” said Alexander. “Behind us, probably we’re like 10 feet to the back of us. We heard fireworks going off.”

Alexander and his sister, Robin Spencer, were among the hundreds who heard the mass shooting unfold in Monroe Park, where seven people were shot. Two people were killed, including a Hugenot High School graduate and their father.

Monroe Park Mass Shooting
Monroe Park Mass Shooting(Source;WWBT | WWBT)

“Everybody started running, and I pushed her down on the ground, and we got down on the ground, and it was just chaos from there,” Alexander told NBC12. “You just kept hearing shots. It was just eight, nine, ten shots.”

Six people also had injuries unrelated to the gunfire, including three who needed to go to the hospital for anxiety.

Two others were also hurt after falling and a 9-year-old was hit by a car as they ran from the area and is expected to recover.

“Who the hell would do this on these kids’ graduation?” said Spencer. “There’s tons of kids. People are walking around with babies.”

Thomas Sones, a teacher with Richmond Public Schools, also heard the gunshots ring out.

“Just as I got to the back corner, I heard about 10 shots fired and so people standing in the back of the theatre went down the back stairs and theatre security locked the back door immediately,” he told NBC12. “It’s just very sad.”

Outside the scene, people embraced each other and hugged, still processing the scene unfolding.

Jeremy Evans was among the hundreds outside the Altria Theatre and told NBC12 his daughter was singing for the graduation.

“I look at this scenario like we’re supposed to be happy about people graduating,” Evans said. “We’re supposed to be supporting one another, holding one another, loving one another, and then a shooting happen. Come on now. I just think it’s bad. We have to do better.”

Richmond Mass Shooting in Monroe Park.
Richmond Mass Shooting in Monroe Park.(Source;WWBT | WWBT)

Evans said his daughter’s friend was one of the people who got shot.

“I’m just praying for anybody that got hurt and the family of the victims or whatever the case may be, but it has to stop.”

All RPS schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, June 7, out of “an abundance of caution,” according to a message sent to families.

If you or your child needs to speak to a counselor, please call the ChildSavers Immediate Response Helpline at (804) 305-2420