Shawn Jackson, 18, was enrolled in a virtual learning program prior to his death, one his mother credited with “saving his life.”
RICHMOND, VA — The 18-year-old killed when a gunman opened fire outside a graduation ceremony in Richmond last week wasn’t attending school in person before the shooting due to “safety reasons,” according to a WRIC report.
Shawn Jackson, 18, and his stepfather, Lorenzo Smith, 36, were killed June 6 when a 19-year-old gunman opened fire outside the Altria Theater in Richmond following Huguenot High School’s graduation ceremony.
Five other people were injured in the shooting, police said, which occurred shortly after 5 p.m.
According to emails sent to WRIC, Richmond Public Schools confirmed Jackson was in a program called “Homebound,” an online learning option for students offered through the Richmond Virtual Academy.
In the email, Tameeka Jackson-Smith, Jackson’s mother and Smith’s wife, praised the program, saying it made it possible for him to get a diploma in “a safe environment.” She also said the school “saved my son and daughter’s life and education,” according to WRIC.
A school spokesperson confirmed Jackson was not enrolled in the virtual learning program due to disciplinary reasons, according to WRIC.
Amari Pollard was arraigned last week on two counts of second-degree murder in connection to the shooting. According to Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards, Pollard knew Jackson and the two had been embroiled in a dispute for more than a year.
Related: Shooter ID’d After Father, Son Killed Outside VA Graduation Ceremony
Edwards said the nature of the dispute is still being investigated.
Jackson-Smith and her 9-year-old daughter were hit by a car in the chaos that erupted after the shooting, according to The Associated Press. The girl was treated for leg injuries and released from the hospital, Jackson-Smith said.
At a family news conference last week, people hugged each other tight as they talked about Jackson and Smith.
Datrell Glover, Jackson’s aunt and Smith’s sister-in-law, said Jackson had a smile that would light up a room and Smith “would do anything for you,” NBC 12 reported. She also said Smith was an Army veteran and described him as a hard worker who loved his family.
“I can’t see my nephew pop up in the house no more and him coming in smiling,” said Glover with tears in her eyes. “Continue to please pray for my family and the others that were injured. This was very senseless.”