Police officer, civilian and gunman dead, responders wounded in shootout in Minneapolis neighborhood (2024)

MINNEAPOLIS — An upset and frustrated Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara and his department, barely a half-day after officer Jamal Mitchell was killed in a gun battle, provided further details Friday morning about the shooting that rocked the Whittier neighborhood late Thursday afternoon.

"Jamal lived a life of purpose and make no mistake: Jamal made a difference in other people's lives," read a statement from O'Hara. "That's what cops do. I am angry and I am hurt by an attack on our officers, but this is a tragedy I was praying we would not have to face.

"As police officers, we know dying in the line of duty is always a possibility, but the harsh reality hurts very deeply when it happens."

Mitchell, 36, was among the first officers to arrive at the scene of a double shooting shortly after 5 p.m. He was attempting to give medical assistance outside the building to two people he believed had been wounded when one of them "ambushed" him, according to Drew Evans, superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Along with a preliminary account of the circ*mstances of the shooting that left three people dead and four wounded, police also updated the conditions of those who have so far survived. Two suffered life-threatening injuries and were in critical condition, a police spokesman said late Friday morning. The person believed to have killed Mitchell died in an exchange of gunfire with police.

Police said no arrests have been made in connection with any of the gunfire, whether inside the apartment or on the street. Of those injured or killed, Mitchell's is the only identity released so far by officials.

Outside the Fifth Precinct police station at Nicollet Avenue and East 31st Street, a police vehicle adorned with flowers and a picture of Mitchell sat parked, serving as a public memorial. Those paying respects ranged from Mayor Jacob Frey to fellow officers or those who knew Mitchell only casually, such as Paul King, a Metro Transit bus driver who referred to Mitchell as "Mitch."

King said Mitchell struck up a conversation with him while he was driving the bus one day, and such interactions became a regular occurrence."He'd roll up and say 'You OK?' King said Friday. King said Mitchell impressed him — both by his physical presence and his warm demeanor — so much they he used to tell him he was destined to be the city's next police chief. "This was a down-to-earth, good man," said King, who is 60 and Black. "He represent African-American men — and young men — and he loved his job. Said it was his dream job."

According to police:

At approximately 5:15 p.m., police were alerted to two people shot in an apartment in the 2200 block of Blaisdell Avenue S.

Officers arrived, and a suspect fired on them. Officers opened fire and wounded the suspect during an exchange of gunfire. Two officers, one of them Mitchell, also were wounded. The suspect "died at the scene despite lifesaving efforts," O'Hara's account continued.

One officer survived his injuries and was recovering at Hennepin County Medical Center. His identity has yet to be released. Mitchell died at HCMC.

Back at the scene, officers went inside the apartment building and found one man dead and another man suffering from life-threatening injuries. That victim was being treated at HCMC.

Outside the apartment building, a man was found shot while in his vehicle. He also was taken to HCMC with life-threatening injuries.

A Minneapolis firefighter was hurt during the incident and was treated for injuries without being hospitalized.

The BCA and the Minneapolis Police Department are working together to investigate all aspects the gunfire inside the apartment and on the street.

"Today the city of Minneapolis lost a courageous hero," Mayor Jacob Frey said Thursday night. "Officer Jamal Mitchell was a father, a son, a fiancé, and a beloved member of our Minneapolis Police Department. Today, he made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and save the lives of others. His life, his service and his name will forever be remembered in the city of Minneapolis."

The last time a Minneapolis police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty was Melissa Schmidt, who was wounded in a public housing complex in the Lyndale neighborhood in 2002. Minneapolis Park Police officer Mark Bedard was killed In 2007 while responding to a drive-by shooting. He was chasing a suspect on foot when he was struck by a Minneapolis police squad car. He died a week later.

At the scene on Friday morning, tenants of the building mingled outside, comparing accounts of a harrowing evening. Several complained that police had kicked in their doors but they hadn't been fixed. A woman who said she was from building management emerged and assured them all doors would be secured by evening.

"If you weren't home, your door got kicked in," said Ken Lorence, a resident of 13 years whose door was damaged "but not too bad." Some entire door frames, he said, were destroyed. "There's a lot of doors kicked in."

Building maintenance workers could be seen Friday morning assessing the damage.

As noon approached Friday, flowers had been placed at a few spots around the shootings. On a paper heart thumbtacked to a utility pole, one read: "Thank you for your service officer Mitchell. I'm so sorry."

BCA investigators with clipboards walked from building to building while Alvin Green, who owns a security business and said he knows people on the street, placed flowers in a street sign in front of the apartment where the first reports of shooting came from. Green said he brought the flowers "out of the kindness of my heart for the officer who died and everyone else who was killed or wounded."

The fatal shooting marks at least the 11th time in less than 14 months that law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded by gunfire in or near Minnesota.

©2024 StarTribune. Visit at startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Copyright 2024 Tribune Content Agency.

Police officer, civilian and gunman dead, responders wounded in shootout in Minneapolis neighborhood (2024)

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