‘Ultimate sacrifice’: 2 officers, paramedic killed in Burnsville; suspected shooter dead

Burnsville Shooting Incident
A Rosemount police officer embraces a Burnsville responder after he exited a bus in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday. Those bussed in joined hundreds of law enforcement officers to pay their respects when the caskets of the slain responders were transferred out of the hospital and to the medical examiners office.
Tim Evans for MPR News

Updated 6:15 p.m.

Two Burnsville police officers and a paramedic were shot and killed early Sunday morning while responding to a call for help about a man armed and barricaded in a home with seven children inside.

The men killed were identified by the city as officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both age 27, and 40-year-old firefighter-paramedic Adam Finseth. Another officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott, was injured and taken to a hospital with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.

Burnsville officers and firefighters
Burnsville officer Paul Elmstrand (left), firefighter Adam Finseth (center) and officer Matthew Ruge (right) were shot and killed early Sunday morning in Burnsville as they responded to a call for help involving an "armed, barricaded man."
City of Burnsville

Officials said the shooter is dead and there is no ongoing threat. They didn’t say how he died. The man’s name is expected to be disclosed following an autopsy planned for Monday. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating.

The children, ages 2 to 15, were able to leave the house safely after the incident ended, authorities said. But the deaths of three public servants shot and killed in the line of duty gripped Burnsville and the entire community of firefighters and law enforcement on Sunday.

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At an emotional late-afternoon press conference, Burnsville officials spoke of the men as heroes dedicated to their communities and to keeping people safe.

“Today, three members of our team made the ultimate sacrifice for this community,” Tanya Schwartz, Burnsville’s police chief, told reporters. In the world of public safety, people sign up understanding they may someday have to give up their lives, she added, “and they do it anyways.”

“There are no words to describe what these public safety families are going through right now,” added Fire Chief BJ Jungmann. Finseth, he said, was a paramedic trained for crisis situations — badge No. 83. Those in public safety work understand the worst might happen, but “no one expects it to happen.”

Report of a man armed, barricaded

Burnsville police were called at 1:50 a.m. to the 12600 block of 33rd Avenue South on a report of a “domestic situation where a man reported to be armed was barricaded with family members. After arriving, the situation escalated into gunfire with responders,” the city said in a statement.

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans told reporters the shooter had multiple guns, a lot of ammunition and shot at first responders from several locations in the house. One of the officers, he said, was in the house when he was shot.

Having young children inside the home made the situation even more harrowing, he added.

The initial call for help, he said, came from someone inside the house. The suspect was already barricaded in the home when officers arrived and they spent “a lot of time” negotiating with him.

Burnsville Shooting Incident
Law enforcement officers from various agencies set up a security perimeter following a reported police-involved shooting incident in Burnsville on Sunday.
Tim Evans for MPR News

Several officers did return fire but the exact exchange of gunfire that occurred still hasn’t been pieced together, Evans said as he asked for patience while the BCA pursued its investigation.

Burnsville officials said Elmstrand joined the department in August 2017 as a community service officer and was promoted to officer in July 2019. He was part of the department’s mobile command staff and served on its honor guard.

Ruge joined the department in April 2020 and was part of its crisis negotiations team.

Finseth had been a Burnsville firefighter and paramedic since February 2019.

‘Heard 40 or 50 gunshots’

Neighbors on Sunday described awakening to the sounds of early morning gunshots.

Alex Martinez and Carmen Schaffer said their house, which sits across from where the shooting happened, was hit by gunfire several times. They said they saw children later being brought out of the house and they seemed to be OK.

Neighbor Chuck Kriss said at around 5 a.m. he and his family heard sounds they first thought were knocking sounds before realizing later they were gunshots.

“We went to our back window and we saw ... a flash, which we learned later on it seems like it was flash bangs and we probably heard 40 or 50 gunshots up and back.”

Burnsville Shooting Incident
A Hastings police officer embraces a pedestrian outside a security perimeter after two officers and a paramedic were shot and killed in Burnsville early Sunday morning.
Tim Evans for MPR News

Anna Edmunds said she heard popping sounds before 5 a.m. but couldn’t see anything right away.

“Even like a couple of minutes later it was like there were a couple more popping sounds and then everything just kind of stopped,” Edmunds said. “And all of a sudden there’s police everywhere and there’s like literally every corner, there’s like a fire truck or there’s like a police [or] ATV.”

Edmunds said she got a shelter in place message from the Burnsville Police Department about an hour after first hearing shots.

Burnsville officials asked people to stay away from the scene as investigators do their work.


At Hennepin Healthcare hospital in Minneapolis, the region’s major trauma care facility, streets were blocked off in the late morning by law enforcement, with Burnsville fire trucks outside along with more than 100 law enforcement vehicles from around the metro area.

A procession of law enforcement and first responders later accompanied the bodies of the officers and paramedic as they were driven to the office of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

Gov. Tim Walz has ordered flags to be flown at half staff in the state beginning Monday at sunrise.

News of the killings on Sunday prompted an outpouring of messages of grief and condolences from across Minnesota’s political spectrum and its law enforcement community.

Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters said, “We are heartbroken. Our law enforcement community is heartbroken. We’re just devastated at the horrific loss. These heroes leave behind loved ones and a community who will forever remember their bravery and dedication to keeping Minnesotans safe.”

Gregg Lindberg, Burnsville’s city manager, called it a “difficult and emotional day here for our community and our team. Words can’t express how hard today has been.”

Watch: Burnsville officials, BCA brief reporters