Police: Shooting leaves one student dead, two injured outside Richfield school (updated)

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One student has died and two students have been injured—one critically—following a shooting outside of South Education Center in Richfield on Tuesday, February 1, according to law enforcement.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne clarified details about the shooting. He told members of the media that five students were involved in the incident, not four as law enforcement originally reported. He also noted that the incident was not a random occurrence, as the parties involved knew each other and the shooting occurred after an altercation between the parties.

Chief Henthorne said that two juvenile suspects were currently in custody, Fernando Valdez-Alvarez, 18, of Minneapolis, and Alfredo Rosario Solais, 19, of Minneapolis. The injured victims were ages 19 and 17. The 17-year-old victim remains in critical condition. The 15-year-old shooting victim, identified by media outlets as Jahmari Rice, succumbed to his injuries. Rice was the son of local activist Cortez Rice, according to media reports.

Chief Henthorne said on Wednesday that SWAT teams arrested Solais and Valdez-Alvarez shortly after 6 pm on Tuesday evening after executing two search warrants. Two guns were collected during the searches and testing will be done to determine which one was used in the shooting. “We are confident that with this isolated incident, no lingering threats exist to our community,” Chief Henthorne said.

Henthorne also said charges for the suspects should be expected by Thursday afternoon. He thanked members of various law enforcement teams and medical response personnel for their swift assistance.

Governor Tim Walz released a statement Tuesday afternoon: “We know that one young person will not come home to their family tonight. My heart breaks that a young life was lost as the result of gunfire. Thank you to the police officers and school personnel who rushed to the scene and helped ensure the students’ safety.”

South Education Center is an alternative school that serves approximately 200 students from pre-K through age 21 in both special education and alternative learning programs, according to the school’s website.

Intermediate District 287 Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski also addressed the media on Wednesday, stating, “Yesterday, we lost a student. Another student is in critical condition, as you’ve heard. Their lives were just beginning. I am devastated. We are all devastated.

“Today and tomorrow we will be working with our school staff. Participating in restorative circles. Telling the stories of the trauma they’ve experienced and being in community with their colleagues for processing, for support, and to begin the healing process. Tentatively on Friday, we will welcome students back to the extent that they are ready to come back,” she said.

This story was updated Wednesday, February 2, 2022, to add and correct information.