Alfredo Rosario Solis and Fernando Valdez-Alvarez, two Minnesota teenagers, have been arrested in connection with the shooting at a Minneapolis-area high school that left one student and one hospitalized earlier this week.
Just before noon on Tuesday, Richfield police responded to a call about a shooting near South Education Center, a public school that serves students K-12 and offers special education and community programs for students up to 21.
When they arrived, authorities found two students on the sidewalk suffering from gunshot wounds. Both were rushed to a nearby hospital where one of them, since identified as 15-year-old Jahmari Rice, died from his injuries. The other victim, 17, has not been named and was reportedly still in critical condition as of Thursday morning.
Police said the shooters fled the scene in a vehicle. South Education Center and other Richfield schools were told to shelter in place through the afternoon as investigators combed the area for suspects, but the lockdowns were lifted by the early evening.
Solis, 19, and Valdez-Alvarez, 18, were taken into custody separately in their homes that same night by SWAT teams executing search warrants, according to reports. Both teens are said to be residents of Minneapolis and students at the school.
Neither had been formally charged Thursday afternoon.
Alfredo Rosario Solis, Fernando Valdez-Alvarez Arrested
At a press conference on Wednesday, Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne announced that Solis and Valdez-Alvarez were arrested without incident at their homes the previous night.
According to Henthorne, detectives believe Solis, Valdez-Alvarez, and three other students were standing along the 7400 block of South Penn Avenue, just around the corner from South Education Center’s front doors, when an argument broke out just before noon on Tuesday.
“The five students did know each other. An altercation, possibly related to a previous dispute, took place […] near the front entrance of the high school,” the chief said. He did not describe the nature of the alleged disagreement.
“During the altercation a handgun was produced and both juveniles were shot,” referring to Jahmari Rice and the unnamed 17-year-old victim.
A previously unreported third victim, identified only as a 19-year-old student, also suffered minor injuries, but it’s not clear if he had been shot. Henthorne said that teen’s wounds were treated at the scene and did not require hospitalization.
Police obtained and executed at least seven search warrants Tuesday night, according to reports: two at the homes of Solis and Valdez-Alvarez, leading to their arrests, and five more not specifically described.
Two of those warrants turned up firearms — police said handguns were recovered from an address in Minneapolis and a residence in the nearby suburb of Crystal. Officials said they plan to run ballistics tests to determine if either was used in Tuesday’s deadly shooting.
Neither Solis nor Valdez-Alvarez has been officially charged with any crime as of 48 hours after their arrest. Local reports indicate that prosecutors were granted an extension to file charges on Thursday, which they are expected to do by the end of the week.
Their booking photos have not been included, as Breaking Daily News does not publish mugshots of defendants younger than 21.
Richfield Shooting Victim Mourned
Jahmari Rice, the 15-year-old victim who later died from his wounds, had reportedly transferred to South Education Center from another school just a week before he was killed.
At his old school, Richfield High, Rice played on the junior varsity football team in his freshman and sophomore seasons, coach Kris Pulford told local reporters.
Jahmari, his coach said, had “a lot of passion, a lot of heart, was fierce about his friends and had a big smile.”
South Education Center officials have said that counseling and mental health services will be made available for students, who are set to return to class on Friday.
Cortez Rice, Jahmari’s father and a noted local activist, was arrested in December after police accused him of threatening a judge. The dad’s lawyers sought to have him furloughed from custody after Jahmari’s death.
Judge William Leary refused, saying he “wants more info” before making a decision, according to one local reporter.