'Shots fired' near George Floyd Square on first anniversary of death

25 May 2021, 18:48

The place where George Floyd was murdered was the scene of gunfire on the first anniversary of his death
The place where George Floyd was murdered was the scene of gunfire on the first anniversary of his death. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The intersection where George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis Police Officer was reportedly the scene of gunfire this morning, on the first anniversary of his death.

Minneapolis Police said that the shots were heard shortly after 10am local time, and witnesses say they saw a vehicle leaving the area at a fast speed.

People paying their respects to the murdered Mr Floyd fled the scene as the loud bangs could be heard.

Read more: George Floyd anniversary: Memorials across UK and US to mark one year since his murder

Shortly after a person showed up at Abbott Northwestern Hospital with a gunshot wound, although it is not immediately clear if the two incidences are linked.

A police statement said: "On Tuesday morning at 10:09 a.m., the Minneapolis police department responded to the 3800 block of Elliott Avenue south on a report of the sound of shots fired.

A nearby shop front was damaged as shots were heard
A nearby shop front was damaged as shots were heard. Picture: PA

"Information received from callers was that a suspect vehicle was last seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed.

"A short period of time later, an individual showed up at Abbott Northwestern Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound.

"The victim has been transported to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment. It is believed that the injury is non-life-threatening."

Journalist Philip Crowther was on scene at the time of the gunshots, and said as many as 30 were heard and a shopfront appeared to be damaged.

He said: "Very quickly things got back to normal.

The area had been transformed into an outdoor festival on the anniversary of his death, with food, children's activities and a long list of musical performer
The area had been transformed into an outdoor festival on the anniversary of his death, with food, children's activities and a long list of musical performer. Picture: PA

“People here who spend a significant amount of time, the organizers, were running around asking, ‘Does anyone need a medic?’ It seems like there are no injuries."

The area had been transformed into an outdoor festival on the anniversary of his death, with food, children's activities and a long list of musical performers.

"We're going to be turning mourning into dancing," rapper Nur-D tweeted. "We're going to be celebrating 365 days of strength in the face of injustice."

Mr Floyd, 46, who was black, died on Memorial Day 2020 after then-officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, pinning him to the ground for about nine and a half minutes.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last month of murder and faces sentencing June 25. Three other fired officers still face trial.

The site of Mr Floyd's death, 38th and Chicago, was taken over by activists soon after and remains barricaded to traffic. The "Rise and Remember George Floyd" celebration, including a candlelight vigil at 8pm local time on Tuesday, caps several days of marches, rallies and panel discussions about his death and where America is in confronting racial discrimination.

Many members of the Floyd family were scheduled to be in Washington DC on Tuesday, in a private meeting with president Joe Biden, who called family members after the Chauvin verdict and pledged to continue fighting for racial justice.

The Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump said he hoped Mr Biden would renew his support for policing reform named for George Floyd, which would ban chokeholds and no-knock police raids and create a national registry for officers disciplined for serious misconduct.

"Now is time to act," Crump said Tuesday on CNN. "Not just talk but act."

Mr Floyd's brother Philonise, appearing alongside Mr Crump, said he thinks about George "all the time."

"My sister called me at 12 o'clock last night and said 'This is the day our brother left us'," he said, adding: "I think things have changed. I think it is moving slowly but we are making progress."