Richmond Judge Considers Release of Investigative Report on Huguenot High School Graduation Shooting

Richmond, Virginia- A Richmond judge presided over arguments today in a case that will determine whether the public will have access to the full investigative report on last year’s shooting at Huguenot High School’s graduation. The shooting, which occurred on June 6, 2023, at the Altria Theater, resulted in seven injuries and the deaths of graduate Shawn Jackson and his stepfather, Lorenzo Smith.

The school system conducted an internal investigation that led to changes in the district’s policies. However, the school board commissioned an external investigation by a third-party. Richmond Public Schools (RPS) is now being sued by a group of plaintiffs, including Lee Enterprises, publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Scripps Media, Inc., owner of CBS 6, and Joshua Stanfield, who are seeking the release of the investigation’s findings.

CBS 6 reporter Tyler Layne, who has been extensively covering the story, testified during the civil trial. The plaintiffs argue that Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act guarantees their right to access public records held by a public body. The school district has agreed to release an “executive summary” of the report but has maintained the report’s confidentiality due to attorney-client privilege.

During the court proceedings, videos from RPS board meetings were shown, along with testimonies from board members. Stephanie Rizzi, chair of the RPS board, testified that she believed the report would be subject to attorney-client privilege. However, other board members, including Jonathan Young, have expressed their support for the full release of the report.

The judge, after hearing closing arguments, stated that he would review the report himself and expects to provide a written opinion by next Thursday, January 18. The decision will determine whether the public will have access to the full investigative report on the graduation shooting at Huguenot High School.