Authorities are investigating a shooting by a Washington County sheriff's deputy that left a 23-year-old man dead in downtown Lake Elmo early Thursday morning.
The sheriff's office says it got a call about a suicidal male just after midnight and found a man with a handgun in Lake Elmo, near Lake Elmo Avenue and 34th Street, across the street from the city's post office.
Deputies reported that they spoke to the man "in an attempt to de-escalate the situation," according to a statement from the Sheriff's office.
The statement also said deputies used less-than-lethal ammunition in the encounter, but the Sheriff's office didn't detail the nature of that use of force.
A deputy eventually fired at the man. He was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where he was later pronounced dead.
People nearby reported getting calls and messages warning them to stay indoors during the encounter.
"We got a call, and they said to stay inside, be careful," said Mack Ziemer, a bartender at the Lake Elmo Inn nearby. He said he didn't hear any gunshots or notice any disturbance prior to the shooting, although he said there were a handful of squad cars surrounding the scene. He said police let people eventually leave the area.
Steve Johnson, who owns a nearby fourplex, said the dead man had lived in an apartment there for about four months. Johnson said be believed he had moved there from Missouri and was working as a paramedic or EMT in the east metro. He said the man, who authorities have not yet identified, was the only person on the lease but that his tenant had a girlfriend who was often at the apartment.
The incident blocked off traffic through downtown Lake Elmo for part of the morning, and authorities reportedly left the scene sometime after 8 a.m.
The sheriff's office says that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting, and is looking into whether the incident was captured on body camera or squad camera recordings.