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Rhodes College IDs student killed in off-campus home invasion; warrant issued for suspect

Murder suspect, Rainess Holmes
Murder suspect, Rainess Holmes(Action News 5/SCSO)
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 11:52 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 2:44 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Rhodes College has identified a student killed over the weekend in a home invasion not far from campus.

Interim President Carroll Stevens sent a letter to students and staff Monday referencing the “incredible pain and anguish” after the death of Andrew (Drew) Rainer, a senior at Rhodes College.

“As many of you know, Drew died early yesterday morning during a home invasion and fatal shooting near campus,” reads Stevens’ letter. “While the Memphis Police Department has not officially confirmed Drew’s identity, they have confirmed a death on the scene.”

Rainer was a 2018 graduate of Christian Brothers High School, according to Stevens, and an English major minoring in music. He’d previously been recognized for academic excellence with the Clarence Day Scholarship for leadership qualities inside and outside the classroom, and he served as chaplain for the Epsilon Sigma Chapter of the Sigma Nu Fraternity.

“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,” writes Stevens. “We have been in touch with Drew’s parents and have extended our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies.”

Counseling is available by calling (901) 843-3128 or emailing stokesj@rhodes.edu. Students may request remote access for classes through this week.

The college is holding a candlelight vigil at 6:15 p.m. Monday at Troutt Quad.

Read Stevens’ complete letter here.

Earlier Monday, police named a suspect in Rainer’s death -- 36-year-old Rainess Holmes -- who is now wanted on a warrant for first-degree murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, three counts of aggravated robbery, especially aggravated burglary and murder in the perpetration of aggravated burglary.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added Holmes to its Most Wanted List.

Police say Rainer and a woman were shot early Sunday morning following a home invasion on McLean not far from Rhodes College.

Campus Safety sent an alert to students and parents Sunday about being cautious on campus. The school said Holmes targeted student housing in the last 48 hours and may be on foot or in a small green Jeep SUV in the area.

Holmes is the only suspect identified in connection to the investigation thus far. Police originally reported there were three to four men, one with a gun, responsible for the crime.

It is unclear if more warrants will be issued in connection to this case.

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