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Rosemount teen stabbed to death; suspect arrested

A 17-year-old Rosemount High School student is dead and his 16-year-old classmate is in custody following what police believe may be the first homicide in the city's history.

Rosemount police on Friday afternoon identified Cody Davis Casey as the victim. According to police Casey suffered several stab wounds during an altercation with the suspect shortly after 3 p.m. March 13 in the yard at 14790 Dallara Ave. Casey was able to ride his bike about a block before collapsing in the snow-covered median between Dodd Boulevard and a bike path.

Because he is a juvenile the suspect will not be named unless he is charged.

Several witnesses ran to help Casey. They went to the nearby Rosemount fire station to get help and waved down a passing police officer. The officer provided medical assistance and called for an ambulance. While conducting a preliminary assessment, the officer found that the victim had suffered multiple stab wounds. Health East ambulance brought the victim to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses helped police identify the suspect. Police found the boy at his family's home, where he was arrested without resistance. During a search at the home police found several items with "evidentiary value," including the knife they believe was used to stab Casey.

Kalstabakken said the knife, which he said "wouldn't be out of place" in a kitchen, was found outside the suspect's house. It had been hidden.

Rosemount police also arrested 18-year-old Zachary Butler-Martinez for interfering with the investigation. Rosemount police chief Gary Kalstabakken did not go into detail about what that interference involved.

This is the first homicide in recent memory in Rosemount. Rosemount police are investigating along with the Dakota County Sheriff's office.

Kalstabakken said the mood at the police department has been tense.

"It's certainly a lot more activity and it's a quicker pace, but we try to focus on doing the basics," he said. "It's still gathering evidence, talking to people and doing things in the right order to get what we need."

Police do not believe the stabbing is related to the non-fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old Rosemount man March 7. The death is being treated as a homicide. Police said it does not appear anyone else was involved and they are not looking for any other suspects. Kalstabakken said the police still have people they would like to talk to and are looking into how well Casey and the suspect knew each other.

"We are confident in what we have learned to this point," he said.

The case will ultimately be sent to the Dakota County Attorney's office for charging.

School continues at RHS

In a letter sent to parents, Rosemount High School principal Greg Clausen said the school would hold classes as usual Friday. Counselors, psychologists and youth pastors were available for students to talk to and resource rooms were established for students who need a place to talk or who feel unable to be in their regular classroom. Clausen said the support would continue for as long as it's needed.

The RHS emergency planning team met Thursday night to prepare for Friday's school day. Clausen said there was never any talk of canceling classes.

"I think in many cases, bringing the kids together with adults -- it's a good situation, I think, for our students," Clausen said. "In a large school, 2,000 students, there are going to be some (students) that are very closely affected by this, and then there are going to be others that are a part of the Rosemount High School community -- they feel the grief and understand, but they won't be as closely affected by this."

Clausen estimated there has been a steady crowd of 20 or so students in the school's guidance office. Some students chose to either stay home or leave school early.

The goal, Clausen said, has been to keep the school day as normal as possible.

"The day has gone well in that we're meeting the needs of students. I think that's the big thing today," Clausen said. "I think this is the fifth student death that I can recall in my 14 years here.

Anyone who feels their student or family needs help can call the school counseling office at 651-423-7517.

There were similar measures in place Friday at Rosemount Middle School, where Casey's sister attends school.

Look for a complete story in next week's Town Pages.