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2 arrested after shooting kills Jamari Rice, injures another

Authorities arrested two suspects Tuesday night after one student was shot dead and another severely wounded in a midday attack outside the main entrance of a school in Richfield.

The shooting happened on the sidewalk outside the South Education Center, an alternative school in the Intermediate District 287 that serves students from pre-K to age 21. Richfield police Lt. Brad Drayna said two suspects were arrested just after 6 p.m. Tuesday after police executed search warrants at two Minneapolis addresses and recovered a handgun. Officers are not looking for any additional suspects, Drayna said.

Jamari Rice, who was killed, played football for two seasons at Richfield High School before his recent transfer to South Education Center.

The suspects had fled by the time officers arrived at the school in the 7400 block of S. Penn Avenue and found the two students wounded on the sidewalk outside, Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne said.

Medical personnel took the students to HCMC by ambulance, and one of them died there. Emergency dispatch audio disclosed that one of the students was shot in the chest.

“This is a tragic day in the city of Richfield,” Henthorne said at a news briefing about 2½ hours after the shooting. “Our … hearts and prayers and thoughts go out to District 287 students, their families and their community.”

The student who was killed was 15-year-old Jamari Rice, said close family friend Damik Bryant, who organized a candlelight vigil Tuesday night outside the school.

Rice’s friends and teammates at the scene described the sophomore as energetic and funny, always making those around him laugh. Rice’s world revolved around football. In the summer, he was often found in the workout room.

“He really wanted to go far,” said friend and former teammate Merrick Woods, 15. “I’m gonna be doing it for him here on out.”

Rice’s cousin, Deonte Turner, 15, said Rice “was a real good person. He wanted to make it big in football.”

Dan Johnson Jr., 13, who used to live down the street from Rice, said the killing left him “speechless.”

Cesar Castillejos, who runs the Richfield nonprofit Young Life, said he just saw Rice walking in their neighborhood Tuesday morning. He frequently gave Rice rides home from church over the past four years when Rice attended the youth group.

When he heard about the shooting and that Rice was involved, he called and texted him in vain: “Call me back.”

Castillejos said Rice was living with his grandmother and that “he flourished” when he found purpose and community on the football field. He heard about “some issues last week at school” that meant Rice would be attending the alternative school.

“He wasn’t perfect. No one is,” he said. “He knew the right thing [and] didn’t always do it. He wanted to grow. He wanted to be better.”

He told Rice’s friends: “Tune out the noise, remember who he was and honor him by making choices that will make a better community.”

Tuesday was Rice’s second day at the South Education Center, said Kris Pulford, the head football coach at Richfield High School, where Rice played as a freshman and as a sophomore this past season.

“When he had things going, he was very intense, a very positive kid,” Pulford said of Rice, who earned a bit of time on the varsity team last season. “He stood up for his buddies, and he loved the game of football.”

Pulford said Rice transferred to his new school “just so he could find a place where he can be successful. Jahmari had heart. He was a good kid.”

Bryant described Rice as “happy, funny” and a fan of video games.

Rice’s father is Cortez Rice, who is in jail on charges of trying to intimidate Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu, who presided over last month’s manslaughter trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter. Potter was convicted of the April 2021 killing of Daunte Wright and is awaiting sentencing.

“I hope that this wakes the city up,” Bryant said. “We need change. We’re out here fighting for the community, and the community takes Cortez’s son. That makes no sense.”

Cortez Rice’s attorney, Jordan Kushner, confirmed that his client’s son was the student who died.

Kushner said Rice has a hearing scheduled in his case and he will push that his client be let out of jail as the case continues.

“He should be able to go home from jail,” Kushner said. “His son is killed. … He would have been taking care of him.”


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