In the aftermath of a devastating shooting that unfolded during a high school graduation ceremony in Richmond, Virginia, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears has boldly stepped forward to voice her concerns. With two lives tragically lost, several individuals injured, and a single suspect now facing grave charges, Earle-Sears captivates attention as she resolutely declares:
“The people that I represent are not safe. They’re not safe in this city, and we have to figure out why that is,” the Republican said. “This is not about law-abiding gun owners. This is about gangs. This is about, even if you took all the guns off the street from the law-abiding citizens, the others who mean harm, who mean to kill and mayhem, they’re going to have the guns,” Winsome-Sears told reporters from a street corner outside the state capital’s city-owned Altria Theater, across the street from a large park and in the middle of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus.
That’s where an 18-year-old high school student and a 36-year-old man attending the graduation had been killed, and five others suffered gunshot wounds around 5:15 p.m. At least 12 others were otherwise injured or treated for anxiety due to the incident, according to authorities. A 19-year-old suspect allegedly tried to escape on foot but was arrested and will be charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Police believe the suspect, who was not immediately identified, knew at least one of the victims.
“We have to figure our what’s going on in our communities,” Earle-Sears continued. “We have to find the right problem so that we can come to the right solution. There are gang activities, there are criminal activities that are happening. And when are we going to weed them out?”
Virginia’s House Minority Leader, Don Scott Jr., a Democrat, and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney voiced their strong disapproval in response to her comments.