Danville man, 18, facing charges for firing gun near elementary school

Police do not believe school, students were intended target

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager, Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - UPDATE 

Danville police say the man accused of firing shots near an elementary school is not cooperating.

Police announced Thursday that Darick Richardson, 18, has been charged with discharging a firearm on school property, aid in concealing a stolen firearm, and illegally possessing a firearm on school property.

All three charges are felonies.

Around 3 p.m. Wednesday, officers responded to the public shelter next to the playground at GLH Johnson Elementary School for a report of shots fired.

Officers do not believe Richardson was targeting the school itself or anyone at the school.

"We don't know exactly what he was shooting at," Danville Police Chief Scott Booth said.

Shortly after arriving, officers found a man walking down Nor Dan Drive who matched the 911 caller's description of the shooter.

"We don't have information that lead us to believe he was in a car, we think he was on foot and think he was just moving along at a pretty good pace," Booth said.

"We know there were some people in the vicinity (of the school)," Booth added. "So somebody, anybody, out there that was there that day please come forward and talk to us. You're not in any trouble, we just want to talk to you about that incident."

The gun Richardson is believed to have fired is a .22 caliber revolver. Booth said it has been recovered.

As for potentially restricting access to the shelter and surrounding park in order to potentially prevent something like this from happening again, Booth said the only way to do that would be with a fence.

But he doesn't think that would be a good idea.

"When I was down there yesterday, it seems like that's a community center that's been enacted there for folks to talk to each other and have their lunch," Booth said. "So, I don't think fencing is a route we would want to go."

He suggested heightened patrols in the area by both police officers and school security.

Richardson is being held in the Danville City Jail without bond.

ORIGINAL STORY 

An 18-year-old man is in custody after authorities said he was involved in a shooting near a Danville elementary school on Wednesday afternoon. 

At about 3 p.m. someone contacted the 911 center about a shooting near G.L.H. Johnson Elementary School, near the intersection of Northmont Boulevard and Melrose Avenue. The caller also said that people were seen running.

The caller said the man was wearing green pants and a black hooded sweatshirt, had a gun and was last seen running on Melrose Avenue.

Investigators in the area responded, and within minutes, detained an 18-year-old man nearby on Nor-Dan Drive. 

During the initial response, the school was placed on lockdown.  

Police said the shooting was not directed at the school or any students.

There have been no reports of injuries at this time.

The investigation into this incident is continuing.

Police said they are not releasing the man's name at this time because they are working to determine if he is indeed the alleged shooter in this case.

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