Suspect dead after two police officers and a first responder killed in shooting

18 February 2024, 22:14

Officers Shot Minnesota
Officers Shot Minnesota. Picture: PA

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association says negotiations with a suspect went on for four hours.

Two police officers and a first responder have been shot and killed and a third officer was injured at a suburban Minneapolis home in an exchange of gunfire while responding to a call involving an armed man who had barricaded himself inside with family, including seven children.

The suspect in the shooting also died, officials said.

The shootings took place in a suburban neighbourhood in Burnsville, Minnesota, which was ringed with police cars that kept the press and public away from the scene.

City officials said in a news release that the incident started as a report of a domestic situation.

Officers Shot Minnesota
Police in Burnsville (Abbie Parr/AP)

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) said negotiations with the suspect went on for four hours before a Swat team entered the home. Seven children were inside, but the city said the family managed to leave safely.

Details on how the suspect died were not immediately released.

City officials identified the killed officers as Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both 27, and the firefighter and paramedic was named as Adam Finseth, 40.

Another police officer, Sergeant Adam Medlicott, was injured and taken to hospital with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries, the city said.

“We are heartbroken. Our law enforcement community is heartbroken. We’re just devastated at the horrific loss,” Brian Peters, executive director of the MPPOA, which represents public safety professionals in the state, said in a statement.

The shooting happened in a tree-lined neighbourhood with two-storey homes. A police armoured vehicle parked nearby had bullet damage to its windshield, but there was no confirmation on whether that was the result of the incident.

Officers Shot Minnesota
A police vehicle with what appears to be bullet marks is towed away (Abbie Parr/AP)

The street was lined with police cars, firefighters and ambulances.

Police scanner recordings on capture a rattled man saying “I need any ambulance” as he struggled to catch his breath. Someone could later be heard talking about three being loaded into ambulances, uttering the word “critical”.

“We must never take for granted the bravery and sacrifices our police officers and first responders make every day,” Minnesota governor Tim Walz said. “My heart is with their families today and the entire state of Minnesota stands with Burnsville.”

Other law enforcement agencies immediately began posting messages of condolence on social media, including images of badges with blue bars through them, as a mark of solidarity in mourning.

Law Enforcement Labour Services, which represents rank-and-file officers and the supervisors of Burnsville Police Department, said in a statement that “thoughts and prayers are with the family of the officers and first responder”.

Officers Shot Minnesota
Law enforcement vehicles parked near the scene (Abbie Parr/AP)

“These officers were struck down while answering the call of duty to serve and protect. We mourn alongside the Burnsville community and the families of those killed,” said the statement from executive director Jim Mortenson.

The State’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release that it had been asked to investigate the shooting and added that the inquiry was in the early stages.

The agency provides investigative and other services to help solve crimes, often to back up smaller law enforcement agencies that lack sufficient resources.

Democratic representative Angie Craig said she had been in touch with the mayor, police chief and state officials to offer any federal resources needed.

“Today serves as another solemn reminder that those who protect our communities do so at great personal risk,” she said.

Burnsville, a city of around 64,000, is about 15 miles south of central Minneapolis.

By Press Association

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