RICHFIELD, Minn. (FOX 9) - A little more than a week after a shooting at the South Education Center in Richfield left one dead, two injured and two charged with murder, both community and family members alike gathered for the funeral of Jahmari Rice Wednesday.
A celebration of Rice's life was hosted by Hope Presbyterian Church in Richfield and heavily attended by those who wished to speak and share memories.
According to FOX 9’s Paul Blume, in addition Jahmari’s father Cortez Rice being present, community leaders such as Richfield Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez and District 287 Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski were also in attendance. National activist supporters present included Jacob Blake’s father, and a family member of Breonna Taylor.
"This is really hard. I say it all the time – I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy," said Cortez during the event.
"You young people, put the guns down, put the guns down," said Jacob Blake Sr.
While there was song and prayer, and a young life to celebrate and mourn – one message stood out: to stop the hate, and end the senseless violence.
Jahmari Rice was previously remembered fondly by the community at a memorial balloon release held to pay respects to Rice at St. Richard Catholic Church in Minneapolis on Feb. 2.
A judge granted Cortez Rice, a Twin Cities activist, a furlough from jail to attend the funeral. Rice was arrested last year on charges of harassing Judge Regina Chu ahead of the Kim Potter trial, but was allowed to attend visitation and funeral services with the use of a home monitoring device.
School shooting shocks many
Police responded to reports of a shooting on the sidewalk outside the South Education Center on Penn Avenue shortly after noon on Feb. 1.
With assistance from the FBI and ATF, police searched the school building as area schools were placed on lockdown.
Classes at the school were canceled for both Wednesday and Thursday following the shooting, then resumed on Friday, Fri. 4, with additional staff support available for students.
Three days after the shooting, Alfredo Rosario Solis, 19, and Fernando Valdez-Alvarez, 18, both of Minneapolis, were charged with three counts of second degree murder each.