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The victim of a shooting in Minneapolis this week has been identified as Randall Smith, the manager of a restaurant and co-founder of a civil rights nonprofit geared towards helping formerly incarcerated individuals jumpstart their lives. 

Smith's identity was confirmed by All Square, the grilled cheese restaurant on Minnehaha Avenue. A Facebook post issued Friday by All Square calls Smith's death "insurmountable and impossible to grasp."

"Our brother, Randall Smith, was tragically murdered on Wednesday night – his life snatched from us and the thousands of friends, family members, fellows, partners, and customers that loved him; that will love him, always," the post reads. 

The only homicide reported in Minneapolis that night was for a shooting on the 1200 block of South 7th Street at 8:40 p.m. Police said officers responded to multiple 911 calls of shots fired, then found a man with gunshot wounds. 

Officers treated the victim at the scene until paramedics rushed him to a hospital, where he died from his injuries. 

According to MPD, potential witnesses reported seeing a dark SUV leaving the area at a high rate of speed just after the shots were fired. No arrests have been reported by the department, and a motive for the shooting is unknown. 

All Square described Smith as an "unapologetic advocate who committed his life to dismantling racism in all of its direct and indirect forms. He wrote to so many who were still on the inside, forging relationships and building community despite the prison walls that separate us."

"He lifted us up," the Facebook post concluded. "It’s just that simple. He lifted us up."

According to his profile, Smith was a graduate of All Square who then became the restaurant's manager, before co-founding the All Square Fellow Fund, which "provides direct capital to formerly incarcerated leaders in the Twin Cities in the form of seed capital and/or financial relief."

"Randall Smith was an incredible person with an incredible heart. He felt deeply. He connected with people in extraordinary ways, amazing ways," said Elizer Darris, the co-executive director of the Minnesota Freedom Fund, in a press conference Friday.

"We have had enough of the taking of Black lives in this state and in this country," he said. "We've had enough of losing really bright lights and great souls. Souls that have had challenges and have overcome those challenges. And have risen to a level to be great community stewards, great community leaders. People who are strong voices for change, progress and hope. And that's what Randall was." 

In 2019, All Square – which was founded by civil rights attorney Emily Hunt Turner – made Time Magazine's list of the World's Greatest Places, not only for employing mostly formerly incarcerated individuals, but also for making a "mean" grilled cheese sandwich. 

As Time noted:

"All Square makes a mean grilled cheese, but its ambitions are much greater. Opened in September 2018 by civil rights lawyer Emily Hunt Turner, the sandwich shop offers its formerly incarcerated employees a professional­-development fellowship in addition to a living wage. Fellows work at least 30 hours a week at the shop, training in everything from wellness to social media. They devote 10 to 15 more hours to learning critical skills like résumé writing and personal finance. The program, designed to develop real-world experience and sterling references, recently graduated 11 fellows in its first class. Turner hopes to replicate the business model and reduce recidivism in cities across the country."

All Square describes itself as a social enterprise as well as a craft grilled cheese restaurant, with its website saying: "Our name refers to the shape of our sandwiches and communicates the notion that those who have paid their debts to society are ALL SQUARE and free to move forward with a clean slate."

In September 2020, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks delivered a $250,000 check to the fund Smith co-championed: All Square's Fellow & Fellow Alum Fund. 

"I never imagined anything like that, I'm just being real," Smith said after receiving the gift, according to the Vikings. "We started the Fellow Fund, but are only at a base level. I was very surprised … I'm still shocked."

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