Rhodes College identifies student fatally shot near campus as Memphis senior

Laura Testino
Memphis Commercial Appeal
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Rhodes College is almost empty during spring break on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The college announced that it is asking students not to return to campus following spring break .

Rhodes College has confirmed Andrew "Drew" Rainer, a senior, as the student shot and killed early Sunday near the school. 

"Drew’s death is a deeply felt loss to the Rhodes College family, especially his classmates, friends, fraternity brothers, faculty, staff, and the Memphis community, where he grew up and his family still lives," Rhodes College Interim President Carroll D. Stevens wrote in a letter to campus Monday. "We have been in touch with Drew’s parents and have extended our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies."

Memphis police confirmed the identity Monday afternoon. 

Rainer came to Rhodes from Christian Brothers High School in Memphis. He was studying an English major and music minor, Stevens said. 

The college senior had earned the Clarence Day Scholarship for "leadership qualities inside and outside the classroom," Stevens said, and was the chaplain for the Epsilon Sigma Chapter of the Sigma Nu Fraternity.

"As the Rhodes community grieves the loss of Drew, we want to encourage vigilance among all students, faculty, and staff," Stevens said. 

The interim president also issued a word of caution to the campus: "At the same time, we must take care to avoid profiling or stereotyping that would cause individuals to be treated differently because of their race, ethnicity, religion or other characteristics. Together, we must help all members of the community feel safe at Rhodes."

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Rainer was killed during what campus security described as an off-campus residential home invasion on the 700 block of North McLean early Sunday morning.

The Memphis Police Department tweeted that the male victim, who they did not identify, was deceased on the scene and the female victim was taken to Regional One hospital in non-critical condition. 

There are three to four male suspects, one of whom is armed with a gun, the police said Sunday.

Police Monday issued an arrest warrant for a 36-year-old man on suspected first-degree murder and aggravated robbery and burglary charges. 

Vigil planned, resources available for students

The Rhodes community planned to gather Monday evening for a candlelight vigil. There was a webinar Monday afternoon with information from local leadership at Rhodes and in Memphis about details of the incident and resources for students. 

The campus closed for classes Monday and has offered counseling services to students, faculty and staff. 

During the investigation, Rhodes is offering on-campus housing to off-campus students requesting it. 

Students can request remote courses though Oct. 15, the last day of class before a brief fall break. 

"Together, we must help all members of the community feel safe at Rhodes," Stevens said, "and draw on each other’s strength to recover from this tragedy."

Laura Testino covers education and children's issues for the Commercial Appeal. Reach her at [email protected] or 901-512-3763. Find her on Twitter: @LDTestino

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