Crime, Law and Justice

Minneapolis officer shot, released from hospital

Men in blue shirts look at scene
Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara shows Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey the scene the day after a MPD officer was injured during a shooting.
Feven Gerezgiher | MPR News

Updated: 6:15 p.m.

Four people are in custody after the shooting and injury of a Minneapolis police officer in what Police Chief Brian O’Hara termed an “ambush” on Friday night.

The officer was uniformed but driving an unmarked “unconventional vehicle” while in pursuit of a vehicle in north Minneapolis when he came under fire with 14 rounds of automatic gunfire, according to O’Hara.

The officer was immediately hospitalized for a wound to his shoulder.

A social media post from the Minneapolis Police Department shows the unidentified officer being escorted out of North Memorial Health Hospital by O’Hara and other law enforcement officials early Saturday morning.

“There is a lot of scrutiny on this department, and rightfully so, we have earned much of that scrutiny,” said O’Hara. “But what I need people to know: that the officers that are here, the officers that remain here, by and large, are incredibly dedicated.”

The incident involved a white Chevrolet Equinox that was fleeing police on Friday night, according to O’Hara. He said Minneapolis patrols spotted an Equinox around 7:58 p.m. matching the description of a vehicle reported to be connected to a robbery in the area.

After running the vehicle’s registration, he said patrols learned the vehicle had fled from Brooklyn Park police a day earlier. The Brooklyn Park Police Department had issued a KOPS alert to indicate a safety concern, O’Hara reported. He said officers attempted a vehicle stop and the Equinox fled; officers did not pursue.

The unidentified officer observed the same Equinox at 9:12 p.m. a few blocks away, according to O’Hara. He said the officer called for back up and followed the vehicle for about a mile, believing he was undetected. The officer was in pursuit driving north on Colfax Avenue North when he lost sight of the vehicle around a hillcrest and found himself under fire, according to O’Hara.

O’Hara said it was unclear whether the suspects knew the driver was a police officer, “but it's clear from what happened that they were trying to kill whoever was in that car.”

The officer was shot “to the back in the area of his shoulder” which was not covered by his department-issued ballistic armor, according to O’Hara. He said the officer drove a few blocks before stopping and was then escorted to the hospital by other officers.

O’Hara said police believe the shooting was connected to the Equinox, but did not say how, only that it was under investigation.

Other law enforcement chased the SUV until it crashed into a parked vehicle in the Willard-Hay neighborhood of Minneapolis, according to O’Hara.

Minneapolis police and deputies with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office had then begun a high-speed vehicle pursuit, leading to the suspect vehicle losing control, according to O’Hara.

Of the people in the Equinox, three males — including one juvenile — were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. One of the men was bitten by a police dog. Police also apprehended a woman. The juvenile remains hospitalized as of Saturday afternoon, according to O’Hara.

Any use of force during the incident will be reviewed, according to O’Hara. From viewing dash camera footage, he believes the suspects’ injuries were related to the crash.

O’Hara said one gun was recovered from the vehicle at some point in the incident. The gun recovered was a firearm without a serial number, also known as a “ghost gun,” according to O’Hara.

It was not immediately clear if any of the four people that police apprehended are suspected of shooting the officer or were involved in a robbery. O’Hara said investigators are looking into whether the recovered gun is a match for casings found where the unidentified officer was shot.

O’Hara described the officer as a seven-year veteran assigned to the community response unit at the 4th precinct.

“We are thankful to God that this officer is still alive,” the chief said early Saturday morning.

The incident happened around the same time as a mass shooting in south Minneapolis on Friday night.

“This kind of gun violence holds no place in our community,” said Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey at the press conference Saturday. He thanked police officers for their work in ensuring public safety.

Officials noted gun violence has dropped considerably over the past year. At this time last year, 137 more people had been shot in Minneapolis, according to O’Hara.

“That is something that is remarkable, but obviously yesterday shows we have a whole lot of work to do,” O’Hara said.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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