A 24-year-old man is in custody after allegedly opening fire on a Minneapolis Park Police officer in an incident that started late Tuesday night at Lake Harriet.
The officer returned fire. No one was injured.
“It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was killed in this incident,” Minneapolis Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto said at a news conference Wednesday. “I watched the body camera footage, there was an exchange of gunfire at a relatively short distance. And I’m extremely thankful that our officer is OK.”
Police said the officer went to check on a vehicle that was illegally parked and blocking access to the Lake Harriet boat launch just before midnight.
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They said the vehicle was not occupied when the officer pulled up, but as the officer began investigating the 24-year-old man confronted the officer, saying it was his car.
According to a police account, the man became uncooperative and tried to get in the vehicle.
“When the officer tried to detain the subject, the subject pulled away and began firing gunshots in the direction of the park police officer,” Ohotto said at the news conference Wednesday. “The officer returned fire.”
Neither was injured in the exchange. The officer’s squad car was struck by gunfire.
Ohotto said the man fled, and the officer called for backup. Park and city police found the suspect a short distance away and took him into custody.
The officer involved in the incident started his career with the Minneapolis Park Police Department in 2018 as a park patrol agent and was promoted to a police officer in 2020. The officer is on paid administrative leave, which Ohotto said is standard following this kind of event.
The Minneapolis Police Department is investigating the shooting. Ohotto said it’s rare for this kind of violence to happen at that location.
“I think this was an extremely isolated incident particularly for that neighborhood in that park,” Ohotto said. “The subject is in custody. We don’t believe there’s any ongoing threat to the public.”