“Tonight is a sad and difficult night for our city,” read a Facebook post from St. Paul, MN police chief Todd Axtell.
This officer-involved shooting was one of several over the past few days. Others include a fatal shooting in Texas and a burglary suspect being wounded in California.
Axtell’s post continued:
“One of our officers was faced with one of the most gut-wrenching situations imaginable. He shot and mortally wounded a man who later lost his life.
The BCA is investigating, so there’s not a lot I can say right now. But I want you all to know that everyone at your police department is deeply saddened by what happened. Our hearts go out to the family of the man who died, to the officer and his family, to the other officers and first responders who tried to save the man’s life, and to our entire community.
I know that, regardless of the circumstances, an officer-involved shooting is a tragedy for everyone involved. It hurts and causes confusion and leaves us all with questions that might not be immediately answered.
But I want you to know that your police department will do all it can to support the officer, who thankfully wasn’t injured. We’ll be there for the officers who were at the scene and his co-workers who know him the best. We’ll reach out to the family of the deceased to offer our deepest and most sincere condolences. And we’ll continue to focus our energy on keeping our city safe, which includes working to do everything possible from preventing another officer from having to make the most difficult of decisions.
Tonight, I’ll say a prayer for the person whose life was lost, the officer involved, our city, our community members and every member of the Saint Paul Police Department. I ask you to do the same.”
The unnamed St. Paul police officer was sitting in his squad car at a stop sign when he was rear-ended. The officer got out of his car to make contact with the other driver. That driver had already exited his vehicle and he confronted the officer, leading to a physical altercation.
On emergency radio traffic Sunday night, the officer could be heard shouting:
“Drop the knife, drop the knife!”
During that fight, the officer discharged his weapon, ending the threat. The man died at the scene.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in a Sunday night statement:
“Our hearts are hurt with the news of an officer-involved shooting. This tragedy touches all of our lives and leaves our entire community in mourning. Additional information will be forthcoming from the (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension), who has taken the lead on the investigation to begin our search for answers and understanding.”
Paramedics responded, but their life-saving measures were to no avail.
The officer was wearing a body camera, which was activated. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating, will review the video and other evidence.
It’s unknown why the man struck the squad; that is something the BCA will try to determine, Ernster said.
“They’re still processing the scene out there,” Ernster said Sunday night. “What has or what hasn’t been recovered will be released by the BCA.”
The officer will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
Carter, City Council member Mitra Jalali Nelson and St. Paul NAACP President Farhio Khalif came to the area to talk to residents and community members who gathered outside the crime-scene tape.
Khalif said they are looking for answers. He and Nelson called for the release of body camera footage.
It doesn’t sound as though Khalif simply wanted answers.
“Another black man has been killed by the police,” Khalif said. “We need justice and we need to know exactly what happened.”
His implication being that the suspect is dead because of their skin color. Could we, once again, have people jumping to conclusions before they have all the facts?
Nelson said she doesn’t know what transpired but said it’s gut-wrenching under any circumstances.
She said she echoes the community call for the police department to release body camera footage.
“Our body cameras are supposed to capture moments gone wrong, moments of tragedy, everything in between and I just think we really, really need to be able to see that right now,” Nelson said Sunday night. “I think one of the most important things we need is transparency.”
Meanwhile, a man was killed in an officer-involved shooting Sunday afternoon in Katy, Texas.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said that the sheriff’s office started receiving 911 calls around 5 p.m. about a disturbance between a husband and wife. Gonzalez said there were reports that the male was intoxicated, and that shots had been fired inside of the location.
“When deputies arrived, they made sure that the female and possibly two teenagers that were with her were safe. At that point, again this is rapidly unfolding, the deputies began to set up a perimeter to secure the safety of the rest of the community out here,” Gonzalez said.
The suspect initially fled the scene, jumping over fences. He then encountered a deputy who was setting up a perimeter. Sheriff Gonzalez said the man showed a pistol and the deputy fired his weapon, shooting and killing the man.
“We don’t yet know if there was a struggle or request or demand from the officer. There is a pistol that was recovered out there,” Gonzalez said.
He said the deputy involved has been with HCSO for four years. The deceased male was approximately in his late 30s to mid-40s.
And finally, an armed burglary suspect is in stable condition following an officer-involved shooting in Santa Monica Thursday afternoon, police said.
The shooting occurred around 6:30 p.m. according to the Santa Monica Police Department.
Investigators said an armed man broke into a home, threatened the homeowner and robbed the house.
“A resident came home and found a male suspect inside their residence,” said Lt. Candice Cobarruvias. “The suspect had a firearm and pointed it at the resident, at which time, the resident fled and called the police.”
Detectives noted that as he fled, the suspect was confronted by officers and escaped into a neighbor’s backyard, where he tried to barricade himself.
“We encountered the suspect. The suspect did not comply. A shooting occurred,” Cobarruvias said. “The suspect was still not complying after being shot in the abdomen, in which time we deployed the K-9.”
Area residents said they heard three shots.
The suspect was then rushed to the hospital and into surgery. He’s listed in stable condition and expected to survive.
Detectives are continuing their investigation into the officer-involved shooting.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.