St. Cloud police officer shot in the hand

Two men standing.
St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis speak at a news conference Monday after a city police officer was shot in the hand trying to arrest an 18-year-old. Anderson said rumors on social media of a shooting by police caused a large crowd to gather outside the Police Department, damaging property.
Kirsti Marohn | MPR News

Updated: 9:20 a.m.

St. Cloud police say one of their officers was shot in the hand while trying to arrest an 18-year-old early Monday.

At a morning press conference, St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said officers were investigating a report of a person with a firearm outside a business. When they tried to detain the teen he fled on foot.

Two officers chased him and caught him on the 1000 block of 10th Avenue South just after midnight. Police said a struggle began between the teen and police, and the teen took out a handgun and fired, hitting an officer in the hand.

Police said officers did not return fire. They subdued the teen and took him into custody.

The officer was taken to the hospital and was listed in stable condition. Anderson said he was in surgery as he spoke. The teen was also injured with what authorities described as a laceration, and also taken to a hospital.

Anderson said rumors on social media of a shooting by police caused a large crowd to gather outside the St. Cloud Police Department around 3 a.m. He said the crowd damaged property and threatened police headquarters.

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A building cordoned off with police tape.
The St. Cloud Police Department is cordoned off with police tape Monday.
Kirsti Marohn | MPR News

“It is abhorrent to me that within minutes the story that went out went out,” he said. “This place could have been on fire over a lie. Not just some information. Not just a few facts here and there. It was flat out untrue.”

He said officers barricaded the building, and dispersed the crowd using chemical irritants.

The investigation is now in the hands of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

At the press conference, community representatives praised the restraint of the police.

The Rev. James Alberts of the Higher Ground Church of God in Christ, said the encounter between St. Cloud officers and the black male suspect gave him hope.

“I was not the only phone call that was made in the wee hours of the morning to reach out to the community and I am thankful that our police department did not follow in some of the footsteps that we’ve seen around this country,” he said. “It is possible to police, and not kill.”