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Funeral is set for teen shot outside Richfield school; father can leave workhouse to attend

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

A memorial service has been scheduled for Jahmari Rice, the 15-year-old sophomore who was fatally shot last week outside his school in Richfield.

The celebration of Rice's life is scheduled for Wednesday and is being hosted by Hope Presbyterian Church at 7132 S. Portland Av. in Richfield.

Among those intending to be there is Rice's father, Cortez Rice, who Monday afternoon was granted a nine-hour furlough from the county workhouse. However, the judge is not allowing Cortez Rice to attend his son's burial the next day.

"Join us as we celebrate Jahmari's life," the invitation distributed on behalf of the teenager's family reads. The announcement includes a full-length photo of Rice in his Richfield High School football uniform, where he played for two seasons before transferring to South Education Center one day before he was shot.

Services are scheduled for 1 p.m., preceded by a viewing 90 minutes earlier. A livestream of the gathering is being planned, said Jasmine Hollins, an aunt who helped raise Rice along with other family members.

"He was a loved kid," Hollins said. "I will miss his coming home every day and every night. We are broken."

David Lenz, Hope Church's lead pastor, said, "We are honored that we can be here to serve the family."

Students in the Richfield School District, where Rice attended until the end of January before transferring, can take an excused absence to attend the funeral.

"For students who wish to attend Jahmari's funeral as a way to mourn and pay their respects, we will support them," read a notice sent to families and district staff. "We will excuse any students who wish to attend the funeral."

However, circumstances are not allowing the district to do the same for staff.

"With the current staffing shortage, it is unlikely that more than a handful of staff can be excused for the funeral," the notice read. "That said, we will do our best to accommodate as many requests as possible."

School District 287, which operates South Education Center, has yet to say it will excuse its students and staff for the funeral.

Alfredo Rosario Solis, 19, and Fernando Valdez-Alvarez, 18, both of Minneapolis, each were charged Friday in Hennepin County District Court with one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder in connection with the gunfire that killed Rice and critically wounded a 17-year-old student. His condition has since been upgraded to serious, Police Lt. Brad Drayna said Monday.

A 19-year-old student suffered minor injuries, but he was not directly hit by gunfire. The surviving students have not been identified.

Solis appeared in court Monday afternoon. Both men remain jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.

The two defendants and the three people wounded attended South Education Center, an alternative school serving numerous cities, at the time of the shooting.

On Monday afternoon, Judge William Leary III granted Cortez Rice the furlough he requested last week in order to attend the funeral. He is currently incarcerated for violating terms of his probation from an illegal weapons conviction. The County Attorney's Office last week supported the furlough request.

Last week, Leary dismissed charges in another case against Cortez Rice in connection with accusations that he tried to intimidate a Hennepin County District judge last fall while she was presiding over the manslaughter case against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter.

The furlough begins at 8 a.m. on the day of the services and ends at 5 p.m. Cortez Rice must be on electronic home monitoring the entire time, disclose everywhere he intends to be and return to the workhouse on time or risk a warrant being issued for his arrest.

Turned down by the court was Cortez Rice's request for his furlough to last long enough so he could see his son buried early Thursday afternoon at a cemetery in north Minneapolis. The court rejected Kushner's request for a hearing, so he could argue why his client's furlough should be extended by a day.

"I think that is extremely callous," said defense attorney Jordan Kushner.

Along with his father, Jahmari Rice is survived by his mother, Shyrese James, grandfather Craig Johnson, great-grandmother Lucille Matias and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and nieces.


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