St. Paul rec center shooting charges: City employee charged with attempted murder

Exavir Dwayne Binford Jr, an employee of the Jimmy Lee Recreation Center in St. Paul, was charged Friday with attempted murder and assault in the shooting of a 16-year-old boy following a large fight.

St. Paul police responded to a reported shooting outside the rec center around 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday. When officers arrived, they found a 16-year-old in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to his forehead. The teenager was taken to Regions Hospital and had emergency neurosurgery. Police said he remains in the intensive care unit as of Friday with a life-threatening injury.

According to the charging documents, witnesses told police that the victim and another teenager got into an argument with Binford, 26, in front of the rec center’s main door. The three of them got into a physical altercation and eventually ended up in the parking lot. A witness told police that Binford said, "If I got to kill somebody I will. I don’t give a f---."

As soon as the fight ended, Binford allegedly backed away from the boys, pulled out his gun, and shot the 16-year-old in the head. Binford left the scene before police arrived, and he was taken into custody shortly after. 

"I just felt like if you wouldn’t put your hands on me this wouldn’t happen you know what I’m saying," Binford allegedly told investigators.  

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

Central HS called rec center to report problems

When investigators asked Binford what happened, Binford claimed that on the day of the shooting, the rec center got a call from the Central High School advising that there had been problems at the school. Rec staff knew the warning meant the center should lock its doors to prevent trouble from the school from spilling over into their facility.  

A fight broke out at the rec center, and police responded. Due to the altercation, no one was allowed to enter the building. However, a different employee allowed a girl into the building, and she allegedly let the victim in. Binford got into an argument with the girl, and the victim got involved.  

After arguing, the two boys allegedly attacked Binford, which escalated into the shooting. The charging documents noted Binford had a busted lip and visible injuries to his right upper eyebrow area.

Permit to carry

Binford was issued a permit to carry a firearm by Ramsey County on September 20, 2022. He told investigators he had his gun at the rec center, but they didn’t know he carried it at work, according to court documents. 

Binford was charged with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance in Ramsey County Friday afternoon.