Officials: Suspect who shot teen at St. Paul rec center is a city employee

The man accused of shooting a teen boy in the head at a St. Paul rec center on Wednesday afternoon is a city employee who worked at the center, city officials said Thursday.

Police swarmed the Jimmy Lee Rec Center off Lexington Avenue North, along with Central High School across the street, after the shooting late Wednesday afternoon. Officers say the shooting left the victim with life-threatening injuries. He was rushed to Regions Hospital for treatment.

Hours after the shooting, police announced a suspect had been arrested, a 26-year-old man, and a gun had been recovered.

Thursday afternoon, Mayor Melvin Carter confirmed that the suspect in the shooting was a city employee.

Officials say the suspect had been employed on and off since 2013 in different roles. Most recently, he was a community recreation specialist, which is a worker involved in youth engagement and overseeing day-to-day processes. FOX 9 has learned the suspect, who FOX 9 won't identify until formal charges have been filed, doesn't have much of a criminal history. He also had a legal permit to carry a gun – though the city says it is against policy for city workers to bring guns to work.

The city wouldn't say if the suspect was on the clock when the shooting happened. Nor would they tell reporters if he had disciplinary issues during his tenure. 

Because of the shooting, Central High School was placed in lockout for a brief period on Wednesday and officials decided to cancel classes for Thursday.

"Anytime any person is harmed in our community, it's horrific and it's tragic," said Mayor Melvin Carter. "When it's a young person, that adds a distinct trauma to that situation. When a young person is harmed at a space that we identify... as a safe space for our children, it's particularly harrowing."

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. The suspect is behind held in Ramsey County Jail awaiting charges in the case.

As for the victim, Thursday the family identified the boy as Juvaughn Turner.