Crystal police shoot man in park; BCA investigating

Updated: 4:30 p.m. | Posted: 3:30 p.m.

Four Crystal police officers are on standard leave after shooting an 18-year-old man in Bassett Creek Park Wednesday morning.

Authorities say the man, Khaleel Thompson, pointed a weapon at the officers, which was later found to be an airsoft gun. Thompson is being treated at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale.

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The officers were not injured. A statement from the Crystal police said officer believed their lives were in imminent danger. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating.

Naomi Thompson, Khaleel's mother, said her son her son had just been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and did not have a gun.

He wasn't a threat to officers, she said.

"He's been hospitalized over 10 times for mental health," Naomi Thompson said. "And when we lived in Crystal, the Crystal police were aware of this because, see, I had called before."

Khaleel was out with friends who noticed he was going through a mental health crisis before the shooting and tried without success to get help for him, his mother said.

The BCA said officers responded to a 911 call of a man with a gun at the disc golf course in Bassett Creek Park. They confronted Thompson, demanding he drop the weapon. When Thompson pointed the weapon at the officers, one fired "non-lethal rounds" at him; when he continued to point the weapon at them, officers fired and hit Thompson, according to the BCA's preliminary investigation, which noted the officers administered first aid at the scene.

BCA agents later determined Thompson was holding a black, "handgun-style airsoft gun with a black-tipped barrel." Investigators are reviewing squad dash cam video of the incident. Officers were not wearing body cameras.

Social media postings Thursday indicated that Thompson struggled with mental illness. The St. Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter called on Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering to explain what happened and accused her of initially not disclosing that Thompson was holding an airsoft gun.

The group quoted Thompson's mother as saying her son had been shot in the head and stomach and was in serious condition.

The four Crystal officers who fired and are on leave are:

• Mason Barland a nine-year department veteran

• Brian Elfstrom, who's been on the force four years

• Kathleen Gomez, a 20-year veteran

• Txheng Vang, who's served on the force for three months