Crime, Law and Justice

Man was on the run for gun charge when he fatally shot Minneapolis officer

a memorial for slain Minneapolis police officer
Blaine Police Department officers visit a memorial where flowers adorn the site dedicated to slain Minneapolis police officer Jamal Mitchell outside the 5th Precinct on Wednesday.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Mustafa Ahmed Mohamed was not allowed to have a gun. 

He’d done time in federal prison for possessing one illegally. Two years after his release, he was allegedly caught with a firearm again, and there was a warrant out for his arrest. And yet, on May 30, investigators say there was a gun in his hand once again, and this time he used it to kill a Minneapolis police officer who was trying to help him.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says officer Jamal Mitchell was responding to a reported shooting at a nearby apartment building on Blaisdell Avenue when he saw Mohamed and a bystander outside on the street, both apparently injured. Mitchell asked Mohamed if he needed help, and Mohamed allegedly started shooting, according to the bureau.

Two other officers arrived and Mohamed opened fire on them, so they shot back, officials said. Mohamed, 35, died at the scene. Officer Luke Kittock and an unidentified Minneapolis firefighter were injured during the incident. 

Mohamed was on the lam at the time. A bail bond company had spent more than a year trying to track him down after he failed to appear at a court hearing on a weapons charge. 

The case stemmed from an early morning incident on Aug. 7, 2022, in downtown Minneapolis. Police say Mohamed was assisting the victim of a robbery at around 5:30 a.m. When officers approached, they said they saw Mohamed ditch a Glock 19X handgun behind a pillar and run away, according to court records.

Police officers gather-7
Law enforcement gathers on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis after an incident on May 30.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Mohamed was arrested and eventually released on bond, but he failed to show up to subsequent court dates. 

He was not allowed to possess guns because he had been convicted in 2007 and 2008 of burglaries in Minnesota and in 2009 of tampering with a vehicle in Missouri. 

Neither burglary involved a gun nor were they particularly violent, according to court records. 

In the first burglary, just eight days after Mohamed turned 18, he and two other men snuck into a person’s home through an open window, according to court records.

When the resident returned and saw them, she screamed for help. Mohamed and one of the other burglars shoved the woman to the floor, then fled through the window, the records say. 

In the second burglary, records indicate Mohamed and another man were found trespassing and in possession of stolen goods.

a booking photo of a man
Mustafa Mohamed in a booking photo from September 2022.
Courtesy Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Police eventually linked Mohamed to a burglary that had happened overnight at a nearby business because a missing cash drawer found in the alley behind the store had bloody fingerprints that matched Mohamed’s. 

Then, despite being prohibited from possessing a gun, Mohamed was caught with one in 2013, bringing him his first criminal charge for having a gun as a prohibited possessor. At a 2015 sentencing for that case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley Endicott noted a pattern. 

“Here the Defendant is 26 years old. But, even with that young age, the Defendant has racked up quite a criminal history,” Endicott said. 

Endicott noted that Mohamed was “essentially one felony away” from being designated an armed career criminal, which would carry a mandatory minimum 15-year sentence, “if and when he does have a firearm.”

Judge Donovan Frank sentenced him to more than eight years. He was released from federal prison in 2020, after serving a little more than five years there.

And then he was caught with a gun again in 2022, and he had another one when officer Mitchell approached him on May 30.

Much remains unclear about the complicated chain of events that ended with the death of Mohamed, officer Mitchell, and Osman Said Jimale, who was found dead in the nearby apartment. But Mohamed was already on the run from the law at the time, and he likely faced the prospect of a lengthy prison term even before he pulled the trigger.

A man poses with his mom
Jamal Mitchell and his mother, Janet Raper-Edwards, pose for a photo during a cruise vacation in October 2023.
Courtesy of Dennis Ray Edwards Sr.