Martin McKinney saw the news when he checked his phone between games of Fortnite on Tuesday.
Dar-Rah Host had been shot.
The 18-year-old was stunned. He couldn’t believe that his friend, the goofy, caring kid he met in middle school, was dead.
“This is not real,” McKinney remembered thinking.
Host, 18, of St. Louis Park, died early Tuesday after being shot outside an unlicensed event venue near the University of Minnesota’s West Bank campus.
Host was shot shortly before 1 a.m. in the Seven Corners neighborhood near the intersection of Washington and Cedar avenues S. He died of multiple gunshot wounds at around 2:30 a.m. at HCMC, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner.
The shooting took place near the Ruby Lounge, an event space attached to the Jewel of India restaurant on 1427 Washington Av. S, which hosted a concert that night.
Later on Tuesday, city officials cited the event space as an “unlicensed rental hall.” The property owners could not be reached for comment.
Minneapolis police are investigating the incident as a homicide and have not named any suspects.
It was the second violent death near campus this week.
Host’s friends took to social media to mourn, many still in disbelief.
McKinney met Host while attending Sanford Middle School. They became fast friends, bonding over making jokes and messing around.
“The teachers always had to separate us because we’d be laughing all the time in class,” he said.
Roger Martinez, 18, said Host watched out for people and knew what buttons to push to brighten his friends’ moods.
“He was the main guy making jokes, being uplifting and being funny for everybody,” Martinez said.
Host’s mother, Chanel Futrell, 36, said her oldest son was shy at first, but magnetic once you got to know him.
Recently he’d been focused on figuring out his life, she said. He’d turned 18 in May and was enrolled in a GED program with hopes of entering the military and then, eventually, college.
“They took something from, not only me, but everybody,” she said.
McKinney hopes people realize that violence has harsh consequences.
“I hope people can realize, what does this prove? What does anything prove?” he asked. “It doesn’t prove anything.”
Host’s girlfriend, Gabby Soika, 16, was waiting at home for him when she heard the news that he was dead.
On Wednesday, she felt broken.
“I just want everybody to hold on to their loved ones and tell them that you love them,” she said. “Because you never know the last time you might see them.”