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Five officers on leave after police shoot and kill Richfield motorist

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Law enforcement officers guard the scene
Law enforcement officers guard the scene after a police shooting along 77th Street East in Richfield Saturday night. Brian Quinones was the ninth person to be fatally shot by police in Minnesota this year.
Christopher Juhn for MPR News file

Questions remain about the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Brian Quinones by suburban Twin Cities police officers over the weekend.

Quinones was shot and killed Saturday night following a police vehicle pursuit through Edina and ending in Richfield. Edina police said in a statement that he confronted officers with a knife before they fired their weapons.

Five officers from the departments are currently on paid administrative leave while the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office investigates the shooting.

Nine people have been fatally shot by police across Minnesota since the start of 2019. At least five of those people were reportedly experiencing mental health crises or were being treated for mental illness at the time of the shooting. Some police departments, including St. Paul and Minnetonka, have been expanding their mental health response teams.

Police departments in the state are also required to provide de-escalation training to officers. That law was spurred by the fatal shooting of motorist Philando Castile in 2016.

Brian J. Quinones
This undated photo shows Brian Quinones.
Anthony Darst via AP

Quinones streamed video from his car leading up to the shooting. It showed him listening to music as squad cars pursued him. He stopped the car, appeared to grab a knife and got out. Less than 20 seconds later, law enforcement officers were heard yelling for him to drop the knife and two bursts of gunfire rang out.

The shooting itself was not captured on video. Quinones, whose full name was Brian Jesus Quinones-Rosario according to court records, was declared dead at the scene. No officers were injured.

Quinones made hip-hop and worked at General Mills. Family members said he lived in Richfield, was married and had a 12-year-old son. Quinones’ family members have said he was experiencing “suicidal thoughts” before the shooting. His brother Joshua Quinones said that he texted to say “sorry” on Saturday.

A vigil on Sunday night turned into a protest march that briefly closed down traffic in both directions on Interstate 494. Family members and supporters questioned why police officers chose to shoot him rather than take other actions.

Police shooting protest in Richfield
Protesters stand in front of a police squad in the eastbound lanes of 77th Street East in Richfield Sunday night.
Christopher Juhn for MPR News file

Investigators have not yet released the names of officers involved in Quinones’ shooting. The departments have not yet confirmed how many officers fired their weapons, how many rounds were fired or whether the officers were wearing body cameras that captured the shooting.

The sheriff’s office has declined to comment on the incident beyond initial statements. Quinones’ family has retained an attorney, Bob Bennett, but he declined to comment until more information is released.