RICHFIELD, Minn. — Two men are now facing murder charges in connection to a fatal shooting near the South Education Center in Richfield on Feb. 1, 2022.
Fernando Valdez-Alvarez, 18, and Alfredo Rosario Solis, 19, have both been charged with three counts of second-degree murder in Hennepin County.
Fifteen-year-old Jahmari Rice was killed in the shooting, and two other students were injured. A 19-year-old had minor injuries, and another 17-year-old is still in critical condition after undergoing surgery at the Hennepin County Medical Center.
Richfield Police previously said that an argument between the five students led to the fatal shooting. According to a criminal complaint, the 19-year-old victim told police he had walked out of the school behind Valdez-Alvarez and Solis with Rice and the other victim. There was a confrontation in the parking lot where the 17-year-old victim punched Solis once, and then Valdez-Alvarez began shooting at the three students, the complaint says.
Rice and the two other victims ran back toward the school when the shooting started, and Valdez-Alvarez and Solis fled in a gold SUV, according to the complaint.
A witness and staff member at the school told police that she saw the five boys walking outside of the school before the shooting. According to court documents, she heard three shots and then 10-20 seconds later, heard a vehicle drive away and two more shots.
According to complaints, five 9 mm casings were found by police where the SUV was parked at the school.
Valdez-Alvarez and Solis were both arrested by police Tuesday night. The criminal complaint says officers executing a search warrant at Solis's house found a 9 mm Glock 45 handgun, ammunition and a sweatshirt matching the clothing Solis was seen wearing earlier in the day. Solis was arrested at that location.
Officers also located a gold SUV matching the description of the vehicle the pair fled in at Valdez-Alvarez's home, which is where he was taken into custody.
On Wednesday night, dozens of people gathered at a vigil to remember Rice, who was the son of Twin Cities activist Cortez Rice.
"A straight-A student, a star quarterback. Jahmari tried to make wrong right, he never wanted to see anybody hurt, he always tried to help," said Jahmari's mom Shyrese James. "I'm confused, I'm hurt and I don't wish this pain on nobody," she said.
South Education Center, part of ISD #287, was closed to students Wednesday and Thursday. Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski promised that robust mental health services and resources will be available to students and their families as the district continues to grieve.
Valdez-Alvarez and Solis are due in court on Feb. 4 at the Public Safety Facility in downtown Minneapolis.
“While we continue to heal from past trauma, we also grieve the untimely loss of Mr. Rice. In these difficult times, we must band together as a community, and do what we can to ensure justice is met. Our office will do our part in prosecuting these defendants," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement released Friday afternoon.