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Chief Says School Shooting Was Not Random, Two Suspects In Custody

Richfield, MN – Police have arrested two suspects in what officials are calling a targeted shooting on Tuesday in front of a Richfield school.

Two students were shot in front of the entrance to the South Education Center in the 7400-block of Penn Avenue about 12:07 p.m. on Feb. 1, NBC News reported.

Both wounded students were transported to an area hospital.

A 15-year-old student was pronounced dead upon arrival at the medical center and a 17-year-old student remained in critical condition, NBC News reported.

Police said a 19-year-old student also suffered minor injuries but he was treated at the scene and released.

Officials have not released the names of any of the victims, NBC News reported.

There are 200 students enrolled in South Education Center, a school for kindergarteners through young adults in need of special education and community programs.

Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne told reporters late on Wednesday that the violent attack “was not random, NBC News reported.

Chief Henthorne said there were five students involved in the incident and that they all knew each other.

“The five students did know each other. An altercation, possibly related to a previous dispute took place… near the front entrance of the high school,” the police chief said. “During the altercation, a handgun was produced and both juveniles were shot.”

He said 18-year-old Fernando Valdez-Alvarez and 19-year-old Alfredo Rosario Solis were arrested on Tuesday night, NBC News reported.

Chief Henthorne said Alvarez and Solis fled the scene of the shooting in a vehicle.

The chief said that SWAT teams executed simultaneous search warrants at two separate addresses at about 6 p.m. on Feb. 1 and were able to take both men into custody, NBC News reported.

Police also recovered the vehicle the shooters fled in.

Chief Henthorne said officers executed at least five more search warrants later that night and recovered one handgun at an address in Crystal and another weapon at an address in Minneapolis, NBC News reported.

The chief said investigators will conduct ballistic testing to determine which weapon was used to shoot the South Education Center students.

He said police were working with prosecutors from the Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office and expected that charges would be filed against Alvarez and Solis on Thursday, NBC News reported.

“We lost one of our beautiful youth, young leaders, one of our students, and there’s nothing we can do to bring him back,” Richfield Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez told reporters.

“I know that he loved football, he loved to be with his friends, and was respected and was a part of the community here in our schools in Richfield as well as more broadly,” Gonzalez said. “My deepest condolences go to the family members and all of his friends.”

The mayor said that she and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had met with school staff on Feb. 2 “to let them know that we’re in this together,” NBC News reported.

“We know that one young person will not come home to their family tonight. My heart breaks that a young life was lost as a result of gunfire,” Walz said in a statement on Feb. 1.

“We need more than words, though — we need action. We need action to get guns off the streets and prevent violent crime in the first place,” the governor added.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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