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3 arrested, 1 released in 4th Precinct shooting; #Justice4Jamar demonstrations continue

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Protesters are silhouetted against a banner.
Black Lives Matter demonstrators are silhouetted against a banner as they march from the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct to City Hall Tuesday afternoon.
Matthew Hintz for MPR News

Updated: 9:17 p.m. | Posted: 2:44 a.m.

The latest:

• Three white men — ages 21, 23 and 26 — are in custody as part of an investigation into the shooting of 5 Monday night. 
• The fourth, a 32-year-old Hispanic man, has been released.
• Gov. Dayton urged an end to 4th Precinct protests over security concerns.
• A Black Lives Matter organizer said the "occupation" will continue
• Marchers returned to north Minneapolis for a concert outside the precinct after rallying downtown in front of City Hall.
• NOW: MPR News live coverage

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Five people were shot late Monday night near the 4th Precinct police station in north Minneapolis where crowds have gathered for more than a week to protest the police shooting of Jamar Clark, 24.

Three white men — ages 21, 23 and 26 — are in custody as part of the investigation into Monday night's shootings, Minneapolis police said Tuesday.

The 26- and 21-year-olds turned themselves in Tuesday, according to police. The third man was arrested in Bloomington earlier that day.

Another, a 32-year-old Hispanic man, who was arrested in south Minneapolis Tuesday, has been released. Minneapolis Police said they determined the man was not at the scene outside the 4th Precinct Monday night.

Activists look at videos of alleged shooters
Activists at the 4th Precinct shared videos of people they thought were the shooters early Tuesday morning.
Doualy Xaykaothao | MPR News

Authorities said the suspects' names will be released upon charging. 

None of the five victims' injuries was life-threatening, said Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder. Three of the victims were driven to North Memorial Medical Center after the shooting, Elder said, and two others were taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center. 

On Tuesday morning, Gov. Mark Dayton called the shootings a "cowardly, criminal act" and said he believed the suspects will be "brought to justice."

At the same time, he said he hoped protesters would heed the pleas of Jamar Clark's family to end the protests outside the precinct amid safety concerns.

Several shot near Fourth Precinct
Minneapolis police cordoned off a section of road near the 1400 block of Morgan Avenue in north Minneapolis late Monday night after five people were shot, just a block from the police department's 4th Precinct.
Doualy Xaykaothao | MPR News

"I think this underscores the treacherous nature of a significant number of people who are intermingling without any way of safeguarding people engaged in peaceful protests," Dayton told MPR News. "It underscores the vulnerability of peaceful citizens exercising their First Amendment rights."

However, protesters who gathered again Tuesday morning outside the 4th Precinct said they will not leave, despite the shooting.

"A planned hate crime"

Black Lives Matter spokesperson Miski Noor called Monday night's shootings "a planned hate crime and an act of terrorism." She told reporters this afternoon that the group was recommitting to "our occupation" outside the 4th Precinct "until we get justice."

She also slammed the police response to the shooting. "We have zero faith in this police department's desire to keep our community safe," she added.

Minneapolis police officer investigates shooting.
A Minneapolis police officer investigates the site of Monday night's shooting.
Jeff Wheeler | Star Tribune via AP

Witnesses said Monday night's demonstration was a peaceful gathering that turned into chaos at about 10:45 p.m.

Protesters said they had formed a group to walk people away from their 4th Precinct encampment who were causing problems. About a block away from the demonstrations, the shots were fired.

One of the lead protest groups, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, posted on its Facebook page that "5 unarmed protesters shot by white supremacists who were asked to leave & followed out. One block up they shot one in leg & 1 in stomach."

Jie Wronski-Riley was among the protesters following the people leaving the scene.

"Then it was like they just turned around and they just started shooting. At first I wasn't sure. I was like, are they shooting firecrackers? Because it was so loud, and there was all this, like, sulfur, or whatever," Wronski-Riley said. "Then it was like the person right next to me on my left went down and the person on my right went down, and I was like, they're actually shooting at us. They're shooting bullets at us."

Rumors about the nature of the shootings — and the shooters — spread quickly through the encampment. Twitter feeds, using the hashtags #Justice4Jamar and #FourthPrecinctShutdown that they'd been using all week, lit up the Internet with theories of the shooters' identities and police involvement.

"I don't want to perpetuate rumor," U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who has joined the group throughout the week-plus demonstration, said after the shootings. 

"I'd rather just try to get the facts out. That's a better way to go," he added. "I'm not trying to say they weren't white supremacists. But I just haven't been able to piece together enough information to say with any real clarity."

Rep. Keith Ellison talks to demonstrators
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said, as he spoke with people at the precinct soon after Monday night's shooting, many people told him they were hurting.
Doualy Xaykaothao | MPR News

Ellison met with some of the bundled-up demonstrators after the Monday night shootings. Temperatures in Minneapolis barely reached 30 degrees in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"I am worried about people's safety, I really am," he said. "There was a shooting down the street tonight.  But it's also the elements.  People out here could get frostbitten."

Demonstrations continue

Eddie Sutton, a brother of Jamar Clark, issued a statement from Clark's family thanking protesters for peaceful demonstrations but pleading for the gathered crowd to end their demonstration: "Out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the 4th precinct ended and onto the next step."

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis reiterated the group's commitment to the demonstrations early Tuesday morning in a Facebook post. The group has rallied, marched and prayed outside the police department's 4th Precinct for more than a week since Clark's shooting. It led a march through Minneapolis to City Hall Tuesday afternoon, then returned to the precinct for an evening concert.

Marchers came down 7th St. into downtown.
Hundreds of demonstrators marched peacefully along 7th Street and into downtown Minneapolis where they held a short rally Tuesday afternoon.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News

Some University of Minnesota students walked out of classes to join the marchers. Students from Minneapolis Southwest High School also left class to protest in the Linden Hills neighborhood and staged a "die-in" at 50th Street and France Avenue in Edina.

Michael McDowell, a Black Lives Matter organizer, said the group's leaders have a possible date in mind when they will leave the precinct.

"We may not necessarily stay at the precinct until the tapes are released," he said, "but we will continue to escalate until the tapes are released." 

Organizers aren't prepared to make the date public yet, McDowell said. "We do have a clear date but we're not going to put it out there yet. We like to keep folks guessing, I guess," he said, adding that north Minneapolis neighbors might choose to remain after Black Lives Matter leaves. "Mostly, we also got community input and the community's not ready to leave."

Protesters are planning a Thanksgiving meal at the precinct Thursday.

Investigation: Where it stands

Authorities have said  police shot Clark, 24, during a struggle with police after he interfered with paramedics who were trying to assist an assault victim. But some people who said they saw the shooting allege Clark was handcuffed.

Protesters and Clark's family have been calling for investigators to release video of the shooting. The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said it has video from the ambulance, a mobile police camera and other sources, but none of it shows the event in its entirety. The agency, which is conducting a state investigation, said releasing the footage now would taint its investigation.

A federal criminal civil rights investigation is also underway, to determine whether police intentionally violated Clark's civil rights through excessive force.  

Federal authorities are coordinating with the city's police department to see if federal action is appropriate, said Ben Petok, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andy Luger.

The protest demanded releasing the shooting tapes.
A demonstrator carries a sign demanding the release of video footage from the time of Jamar Clark's shooting death. Protesters gathered outside the 4th Precinct police station for a candlelight vigil and rally Thursday.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News

It's unclear whether authorities will choose to classify the Monday night shootings as a hate crime.

A recent case in Minnesota that authorities say was motivated by bias against foreigners did not result in hate-crime charges after prosecutors determined that doing so would have resulted in a lesser charge.

In that case, a Somali-American woman who was speaking Swahili at an Applebee's in Coon Rapids was assaulted with a beer mug by a woman who told her to speak English. Anoka County proseuctors charged Jodie Burchard-Risch with third-degree felony assault.

Authorities said as a hate crime, it would have been considered a gross misdemeanor. 

Demonstrators undeterred by shootings

By late Tuesday afternoon, organizers had regrouped to lead the march of more than 1,000 people through north Minneapolis that included a stop at the site where Jamar Clark was shot. Part of that march then headed for downtown Minneapolis and a rally outside City Hall before heading back toward the 4th Precinct station at around 5:15 p.m.

In that afternoon crowd stood Wesley Martin, 18, who said he was among the five shot Monday night. 

He said he was following some suspicious-looking men out of the protest when words were exchanged and that people started charging after someone used a racial slur.

  "I'm running. I get to the corner. I feel something go right through my leg," he recalled. "I thought I fell or something like that. But I went to pull up my pant leg, and all I see is blood. I sat down, and after that, I don't remember nothing."

"I feel like I can't walk on the street without looking around my back," Martin said. 

But the violence, he added, would not keep him from demonstrating.

MPR News reporters Laura Yuen, Brandt Williams, Mukhtar Ibrahim, Jon Collins and Russell Barnes contributed to this report.