2 charged in fatal shooting at suburban Minneapolis school

Published 6:32 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

RICHFIELD — Two men have been charged in a shooting outside a suburban Minneapolis school  that left one student dead and another critically injured, the Hennepin County attorney announced Friday.

Alfredo Rosario Solis, 19, and Fernando Valdez-Alvarez, 18, both of Minneapolis, each face one count of intentional second-degree murder for the death of 15-year-old Jahmari Rice, prosecutor Mike Freeman said.

Rice was found shot outside South Education Center in Richfield Tuesday and a 17-year-old student was found wounded in the school’s main entrance. The 17-year-old remains in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center, according to criminal complaints.

Solis and Valdez-Alvarez, who are both students at South, are also charged with two counts of attempted intentional second-degree murder, the complaints said. Those charges involve the 17-year-old’s injuries and another male who was with Rice. The third male was not injured in the shooting, the county attorney said.

Solis and Valdez-Alvarez are jailed on $1 million bail. Solis appeared in court Friday afternoon without an attorney, and Judge Lyonel Norris sent him back to jail and urged him to find a lawyer by Monday, the  Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Valdez-Alvarez has yet to make his first court appearance.

According to the complaint, officers learned from the third male victim that a confrontation involving him and the defendants, Rice and the 17-year-old male victim, occurred in the school parking lot where Solis was punched once by the 17-year-old.

In return, Valdez-Alvarez fired numerous shots at the three male victims, according to charges against him. After he shot at the victims, Solis and Valdez-Alvarez ran to their SUV, where shots continued to be fired once they got inside and eventually drove off, the complaint said. It’s not clear who fired the shots from the SUV.

Court documents said Rice was shot while running away from the two shooters.

The suspects were arrested later on Tuesday and police said they recovered two handguns, one in Minneapolis and one at a residence in suburban Crystal.

South Education Center has about 200 students, according to its website, which describes it as a school that offers special education programs and an alternative high school, with students as young as prekindergarten. It is part of District 287, which provides services to 11 school districts across the Minneapolis area as well as some students from other districts.

Some students returned to school Friday amid greetings from staff outside the building and increased security. Students were screened with hand-held metal detectors before entering the building. Attendance was optional, the  Star Tribune reported.

A makeshift memorial with cards, photographs and a heart-shaped balloon sat outside the building in memory of Rice, who transferred to the school from Richfield High two days before he was fatally shot.