St. Paul police shoot, kill man after standoff

Scene of shooting
St. Paul police shot and killed a man during a standoff Monday, March 16, 2015, east of downtown St. Paul.
Peter Cox | MPR News

Updated: 5:45 a.m. March 17 | Posted: 5:56 p.m. March 16

St. Paul police shot and killed a man during a standoff Monday afternoon east of downtown St. Paul.

Police were called to 411 White Bear Ave. around 3:20 p.m. because someone saw a man carrying what appeared to be a rifle. The man was also said to be wearing a bulletproof vest.

A neighbor from two houses down, who would only give her first name as Sherri, said she was at her kitchen table scrapbooking when she heard commotion and noticed police.

"All of the sudden my dogs were very nervous and — you know we hear sirens all the time on White Bear Avenue, all the time — and I looked out and almost had a heart attack," she said. "I mean they were everywhere."

For the next 45 minutes, she watched out of her window as a St. Paul police SWAT team took positions in the neighborhood. She said she heard the man threatening to kill someone and cursing at police as they tried to talk him down.

Police had told Ari Owens to leave her home across the street. Owens was standing in the parking lot of a nearby sandwich shop when she heard shots.

"Everybody, the whole parking lot was full of people," she said. "And we all just ducked down on the side of the building, in front of the cars, everything. So it was really crazy because we'd never seen anything like that before."

Sgt. Paul Paulos
St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos speaks to the media near 411 White Bear Avenue in St. Paul, March 16, 2015.
Ben Garvin | St. Paul Pioneer Press via AP

St. Paul police Sgt. Paul Paulos said officers first tried non-lethal means to end the standoff, but that didn't work.

"It was followed up by lethal force, which was the shots fired by the officer and he died on the scene," Paulos said. "We called St. Paul fire medics immediately, to see if we could save the person. We could not."

No officers were injured.

The man, who was described as an adult and white, has not been identified. Four officers involved in the shooting are on standard, three-day paid leave. The officers, whose names were not released, have served between five and 19 years with St. Paul police.

Paulos said that while the man had a gun, it is not yet clear if he shot at police.

The scene of the shooting
Shots were exchanged by St. Paul Police and a man who was killed at this house on White Bear Avenue in St. Paul, March 16, 2015.
Peter Cox | MPR News

"We are now looking into that, whether or not shots were actually fired by the suspect. There's so much going on, it was so fluid at the time with the information running. It's unclear if he shot or he didn't shoot."

Neighbors say the man and a woman had just moved into the home a week and a half before. The house had been vacant for about a year before that.

It was the second police involved shooting death in St. Paul this year. In January, police used deadly force when they say Marcus Golden drove his vehicle at them. An MPR News analysis found that St. Paul police have fatally shot more suspects than any other Minnesota department over the last six years.

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