Renzo Smith, the 36-year-old father killed in a graduation day shooting in Richmond, Virginia, was a veteran who “wanted to serve his country and take care of his family,” his aunt Margarette Lenard told CBS 6 News.
“He wanted to be in the Army. He wanted to serve his country,” she said. “He decided to be Army strong. He did not allow anything, nothing at all, to deter him from doing that.”
Lenard said Smith fell in love with a Richmond woman and eventually helped raise her son Shawn Jackson as his own.
Both Smith and Jackson were killed in the post-graduation shooting outside Altria Theater in Richmond.
“[He] only wanted to serve his country and take care of his family. That’s all,” Lenard said. “His time has been stolen from him.”
Smith also had a nine-year-old daughter. She was hit by a car while fleeing the shooting. She is expected to be physically OK.
Lenard said she recently sent Jackson a graduation present.
The gift was a handmade blanket she gives to each family member to take into adulthood.
“I told Shawn last Saturday … if you’re ever feeling lonely or sad, or something bad is happening. you wrap this blanket around you and know that [I am] giving you a hug,” she said.
Lenard said she spent Tuesday night writing letters to elected officials begging for more to be done to stop gun violence.
Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards said the shooting suspect, Amari Pollard, 19, knew Jackson and the two had been embroiled in a dispute for more than a year. Edwards said the nature of the dispute is still being investigated.
“This was targeted at one individual … that’s what we know at this time,” Edwards said during a news conference Wednesday.
Pollard was arraigned Wednesday morning on two counts of second-degree murder, said Colette McEachin, Richmond’s top prosecutor. Pollard said he intends to hire an attorney, so the court continued the case until a hearing later this month, McEachin wrote in an email. Pollard was ordered held without bond. Court records did not immediately list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This story was originally published by Bree Sison at Scripps News Richmond.