Relatives mourn the death of former Central High School basketball star

The death of a former Central High School basketball star is being felt in the St. Paul community as the victim’s alleged shooter remains hospitalized, awaiting his first court appearance.

Xavion Tyrece Bell, 21, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the death of Dion Lamarr Ford Jr. during an attempted robbery last week.

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Bell is being held on $5 million bail, pending his first appearance in Ramsey County court in connection with the fatal Ford shooting.

“I couldn’t sleep that night,” Ford’s former teammate Ronnell Porter said. “It was hard to think about anything. It was hard.

Surveillance video showed Ford entering both the supermarket and a nearby restaurant before heading to his vehicle around 9 p.m. Thursday near the intersection of Maryland Avenue and Arundel Street, court records show.

RELATED: St. Paul man faces murder charges in fatal shooting Thursday night

Bell allegedly approached Ford and the two interacted near a vehicle. The complaint goes on to state that “Bell opened the driver’s door and leaned inside”, at which point Ford “pulled out a gun and shot Bell”.

Court documents indicated that Ford, the victim, had a firearms license.

Bell allegedly fired more than a dozen times, hitting Ford.

Xavion Tyrece Bell (Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

In 2019, Ford broke the 1,000 point mark while playing on the varsity basketball team at St. Paul’s Central High School before leaving to play college basketball.

“It was difficult for our community to lose him,” Porter said. “Not many people manage to do that at the college level. Like I said, he had a big impact, on me, our friends, the community itself.

Court documents say Bell was on bail during two other open criminal cases, including charges of aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

“Dion was never the kid to be involved in a situation like this,” said Wibi MacDonald, who coached Ford at Minnesota Developmental Basketball in Bloomington. “I think he played so relaxed, that’s why he was so successful, and that’s what he was.”

Ford went on to play college basketball after graduating from Central High School at schools such as Casper College in Wyoming.

“Here at Casper, we’ve lost a family member,” said Lester Stewart, who coached Ford for one season. “He had athletic gifts, academic gifts, so many different gifts.”

Ford was 21 and had returned to the Twin Cities to attend Augsburg University.

“He had so much life ahead of him,” Stewart said. “It’s sad, we only have memories now.”

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