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Former St. Paul Central HS basketball star killed in shooting

Police identified Dion Lamarr Ford, Jr. as the victim in a deadly shooting Thursday night in St. Paul.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Murder charges have been filed in connection to a Thursday night shooting that killed a former star athlete for St. Paul Central High School.

St. Paul police identified the victim as 21-year-old Dion Lamarr Ford, Jr., who played basketball at St. Paul Central High School before graduating in 2019 and going on to play at junior college.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office filed charges late Friday afternoon against 21-year-old Xavion Bell, who faces two counts of second-degree murder in Ford's death.

Officers were first dispatched to the 400 block of Maryland Avenue West around 9:15 p.m. Thursday after multiple people called 911 reporting gunshots in the area. 

When squads reached the scene, officers found two men with gunshot wounds. Police say one man was lying in the street, and another was in a vehicle a short distance away. When Saint Paul Fire and ambulance arrived, the man in the street, now identified as Ford, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

According to a criminal complaint filed Friday, investigators said surveillance video from the scene appeared to show Bell approach Ford as he left a supermarket and restaurant in the area. According to the complaint, the video showed an interaction between the two men, before Ford allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Bell, who then returned fire. Ford fell to the ground, and Bell allegedly "fired an additional 13 times at (Ford's) lifeless body," according to the complaint.

Credit: Ramsey Co. Sheriff's Office

The complaint states that Bell was shot in the back and is currently hospitalized. Court records show Bell is currently awaiting trial on separate charges of kidnapping and aggravated robbery in Ramsey County and has a previous robbery conviction.

Ford was pronounced dead at the scene. The complaint states Ford had a handgun partially in his hand, and officers found identification and a permit to carry a firearm in his wallet.

Benilde-St. Margaret High School basketball coach Damian Johnson was among those talking about Ford's death Friday on social media. "Man I just heard the news…This is beyond crazy…This kid had so much potential…RIP Dion Ford."

"This one hurts a lot. You were undoubtedly the most naturally talented young man I’ve ever come across. Our countless hours together will never be forgotten," added Minnesota Heat AAA coach and skills trainer Wibi McDonald. 

RELATED: 2 killed overnight in separate St. Paul shootings

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