Minneapolis police say a man suspected in a Wednesday afternoon homicide fatally shot himself hours later on Nicollet Mall as officers closed in, sparking protests and looting in the heart of downtown.
The man, who is Black, was wanted in the slaying of a man in a downtown parking garage. He was on foot at 8th and Nicollet at 6 p.m. As police pulled up, he ducked into a doorway and shot himself in the head while onlookers scrambled away. The man has not been identified.
The incident was captured on city surveillance video, which police released within 90 minutes. The video confirms the police account of what happened and shows the man glancing over his shoulder before pulling out the gun and firing, then collapsing to the ground as a half-dozen witnesses ran away with their hands in the air. The officers, one of whom had his gun drawn, shooed a remaining witness away and kicked the suspect’s gun away before performing chest compressions.
“This video has been released to help quell rumors and hopefully thwart civil unrest,” said police spokesman John Elder. “We are able to release the video in this instance because they are city cameras and our officers were not involved in any deadly use of force. Had that been the case, we would have turned all of this over to the [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension].”
An agitated crowd swiftly grew into the hundreds after the suicide as police tried to cordon off the area and form a perimeter. As darkness fell, some broke out the windows of Nordstrom Rack, while others tried to enter Target as the security gates closed. Officers occasionally sprayed a chemical deterrent and arrested a few people attempting to loot the Foot Locker. An activist walked through the crowd with a megaphone attempting to calm the crowd down, saying, “We have the video. The man killed himself.”
Gov. Tim Walz said the State Patrol was headed to Minneapolis to help restore order. “Minneapolis, it’s time to heal. We must rebuild and recover. Dangerous, unlawful behavior will not be tolerated,” Walz said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, police were called at 2:10 p.m. to a shooting in Ramp A, 101 N. 9th St., where they found a man dead on the ground level.
“The investigation reveals that two people were in a disagreement with him; one person pulled out a gun and shot him,” Elder said.
“We do not believe this was a random attack, but rather people that were familiar with each other. We do not believe there is a threat to the public,” Elder said.
Abby Simons is the Star Tribune’s Public Safety Editor. Her team covers crime and courts across the metro. She joined the Star Tribune in 2008 and previously reported on crime, courts and politics.
Andy Mannix covers federal courts and law enforcement for the Star Tribune. He joined the paper in January 2016 and previously covered Minneapolis City Hall and statewide criminal justice/Department of Corrections.
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