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1 Student Dead, Another Wounded After Shooting Outside Richfield School; 2 In Custody

RICHFIELD, Minn. (WCCO) -- Blood marked the snow Tuesday outside a suburban Minneapolis school where police say two students were shot, one of them fatally.

Richfield police say two people are in custody in connection to the shooting, which happened just after noon on the sidewalk outside South Education Center, located on the 7400 block of Penn Avenue South.

About six hours after the shooting, two search warrants were executed simultaneously at different locations in Minneapolis, police say. One gun was recovered, but it's not clear if it was used in Tuesday's shooting. Police say the two in custody are their only suspects.

Hennepin County Jail records show an 18- and 19-year-old arrested by Richfield police and being held on suspicion of murder, but officials have not confirmed these are the suspects in Tuesday's shooting.

Police Chief Jay Henthorne called the event a "tragic day in the city of Richfield." Responding police officers found the two students wounded at the school. Emergency crews brought them to Hennepin Healthcare, where one of them died. The other student remains in critical condition.

While officials have yet to release the victims' names, close family friends tell WCCO the student killed was 15-year-old Jahmari Rice.

Jahmari Rice
Jahmari Rice (credit: CBS)

South Education Center will be closed Wednesday. The shooting remains under investigation by local, state, and federal agencies, including the ATF and the FBI. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-225-5324 or the ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS.

After the shooting, South Education Center immediately went into lockdown, as did nearby schools. Officials at Richfield Middle School, which is located about a block away from South Education Center, posted on Facebook that some officers mistakenly responded to their school. The officers were wearing bulletproof vests and had their weapons drawn.

Following the lockdown, South Education Center released students to their parents. Law enforcement told parents to wait at Donaldson Park, which is about three blocks east of the school.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz described news of the shooting as "a parent's greatest fear."

"Minnesotans deserve to know that when they send their kids to school, they will come home safely," Walz said. "My prayers are with the students, parents, and teachers whose confidence in that expectation has been shaken today. 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. I remain committed to working with officials at all levels of government to seek needed change."

WATCH: Richfield Police Press Conference

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he was saddened and angered to learn that a student was fatally shot in the Twin Cities, which for the past several months have endured a surge in gun violence.

"My office and I will support law enforcement and prosecutors every way we can in solving this crime and holding accountable those responsible," he tweeted, adding: "School shootings, mass shootings and gun violence happen far too often -- and we must never become numb or desensitized. We must hold our hearts open to all the outrage and hold our minds open to all the solutions for ending it. We must not accept any more death and lives torn apart."

South Education Center is part of Intermediate District 287, a school system in the Twin Cities metro that provides specialized services for students with unique learning needs. South Education Center serves roughly 200 students from pre-K through age 21.

"There really are no words to describe the bravery exhibited by our staff and our local authorities today," said district Superintendent Sandra Lewandowski. "No one should ever have to respond to a tragedy like this."

In September, the same school went into lockdown after a student was found with a handgun. Police responded and took the student into custody. No one was hurt in that incident.

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