officer Police shoot dead man during standoff, city officials say

Minneapolis police officers shot and killed a man early Thursday after an overnight standoff that began after reports he had fired gunfire at an apartment building on the city’s south side, according to city and state officials.

The Minneapolis Police Department identified the man as Andrew Tekle Sundberg, 20, a resident of the building. He was taken to HCMC where he died.

“This is not the outcome that we hoped or desired,” Minneapolis Officer Garrett Parten, a department spokesman, said during a media briefing.

Two Minneapolis officers fired their rifles, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is leading the investigation. The agency did not say whether one or both officers mortally wounded Sundberg. The city identified the officers involved as Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine.

“BCA investigators recovered a firearm at the scene,” the agency said in a statement.

The agency said it was trying to determine whether officers’ body-worn cameras recorded the event.

Several dozen people gathered outside the apartment for a vigil Thursday night after officers removed the final police tape surrounding them. Many held candles and some brought flowers. Family members and friends were present, along with a few neighbors who said they only knew Sundberg marginally.

“It’s still raw for a lot of us,” Minneapolis resident Loretta VanPelt said at the vigil. “Six months ago we lost Amir Locke. It’s almost as if MPD doesn’t want to give us peace.”

Minneapolis police have been involved in at least 37 fatal encounters since 2000, according to a Star Tribune database.

Thursday’s death was the second known fatal encounter with Minneapolis police this year after Locke’s Feb. 2 shooting. The department and its officers have been the subject of intense public investigations related to fatal interactions with members of the public following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

Pearson, an eight-year veteran of the force, was a member of the SWAT team that killed Locke in the predawn raid. Pearson used a key to enter the downtown Minneapolis apartment unit, where 22-year-old Locke was stirring under a blanket on the couch and reaching for a pistol. Officer Mark Hanneman fatally shot Locke within 10 seconds – an encounter captured on Pearson’s body camera.

As a SWAT team medic, Seraphine provided medical care to Locke at the scene, according to reports released by the BCA.

Internal disciplinary records obtained by Communities United Against Police Brutality show that since 2015, Pearson has been the subject of 11 internal affairs and civil review grievances, nearly all of which have been resolved without disciplinary action. Only one complaint from last year remains open. Seraphine was the subject of three complaints, all of which were closed without discipline.

The events leading up to Sundberg’s death began to unfold around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when police were called to a shooting from an apartment building on S. 21st Avenue near Cedar and Franklin Avenues in the Seward neighborhood.

A woman who lives in an apartment next to the man’s hideout told police that bullets went through the wall of her third-floor apartment. Officers arrived and heard more shots being fired and debris exploding from the wall, Parten said. Police removed the woman and two children who were with her. Others in the building were also taken to safety, and some in nearby homes were evacuated, Parten said.

Several nearby roads were closed during the six hours that law enforcement attempted to calm the man. Efforts included using a loudspeaker to tell the man to “walk with your hands raised,” Parten said.

Police also asked the man to check his phone for calls and voicemails from his parents. Police took the man’s parents to the scene of the crime in hopes of getting him to surrender.

Around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, as the situation continued to escalate, a decision was made to use force, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said in a statement.

“We would like to emphasize to the public that this is an active investigation,” the association said in a statement. “In recent years, misinformation, rumors and innuendos have created pain and distrust in our community and our justice system.”

In a series of tweets, Mayor Jacob Frey said: “Everyone [in law enforcement] worked together to reach a peaceful solution under dangerous circumstances while ensuring the safety of local residents. The city will continue to work to share as much information as possible during these early hours and has turned the investigation over to the BCA.”

Frey added, “I would also like to express my gratitude to city staff, including MPD officers and crisis negotiators, who worked diligently throughout the night alongside the person’s family members… Any loss of life is tragic, and my deepest.” Condolences to the family of the affected person.”

Councilor Jamal Osman, representing the area, thanked officials “for their quick response to the call.”

“You may have saved the lives of neighbors,” Osman said in a statement. “

Residents were not allowed back into the apartment building until Thursday evening because of the active investigation, said MP Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis, who represents the area.

“This is a tragic incident no matter how you look at it,” he said.

Noor said he is providing assistance to residents in the neighborhood. The apartment complex across the street is mostly occupied by East African elders with disabilities who have not left their living quarters since the shooting, he said.

Angel Scott, 28, said she heard the first shots around 8pm before police arrived.

Scott, who lives in a nearby building, said she kept her children away from the window and kept an eye on other buildings. Though she said crime does happen in the area — including drug use in and around her building — it was worse.

“I didn’t sleep after last night,” Scott said.

Members of Sundberg’s family declined to speak about what happened when contacted. His sister spoke briefly at the vigil but declined to give her full name. She thanked those present and remembered how, when her brother moved into the apartment, she photographed him with his cat.

“It’s hard to imagine that last night was his last night in this apartment with his cat,” Sundberg’s sister said.

Authors Liz Sawyer, Kyeland Jackson, Faiza Mahamud, Andy Mannix, Alex Chhith, and Jeff Hargarten contributed to this report.

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