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Twin Cities man with rifle fatally shot after he opened fire, wounding officer in face, officials say

The suspect fired approximately 100 rounds at officers and into homes, police chief says

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Authorities investigate the scene of a Tuesday evening fatal shooting in Roseville, Minnesota, on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. A Roseville police officer was struck by gunfire Tuesday night while responding to a report of shots fired at a residence near Lake Owasso and the suspect died, officials say.
Nick Ferraro / St. Paul Pioneer Press
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ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- For more than an hour Tuesday night in Roseville, police say, a man armed with a rifle shot at officers — wounding one in the face — and into nearby homes as he moved around a neighborhood, hiding in wooded areas and in back yards in the cover of darkness.

The shooting stopped when a Roseville officer who was returning fire fatally injured the 53-year-old suspect, according to Police Chief Erika Scheider. Roseville is about 8 miles northwest of St. Paul.

The suspect fired approximately 100 rounds at officers and into homes, which broke windows, Scheider said. Officers were initially called to the 2900 block of West Owasso Boulevard, but the police chief said the crime scene covers a three-block area.

The injured officer was hospitalized in stable condition as of Wednesday morning.

“I could not be prouder of the bravery and courage that was demonstrated by our officers,” Scheider said Wednesday. “Knowing innocent lives were on the line, they ran to the threat and they did exactly what they were trained to do. All of this knowing that their partner had just been struck by gunfire.”

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The suspect lived in the neighborhood and there is a record of “several mental health-related incidents involving this individual,” Scheider said.

Police were dispatched at about 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday after people reported hearing multiple shots fired. One person reported the suspect was armed with a scoped rifle, according to Scheider.

“When our officers arrived in the area, they immediately came under fire with continuous rifle rounds being fired at the officers and their squad cars,” Scheider said. “Officers were unable to determine where the shots were coming from because the suspect had taken up a concealed position in a wooded residential area.”

In the “initial first minutes,” a Roseville officer was shot and injured by the suspect, Scheider said.

“Officers did a tremendous job recognizing that the officer needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible, especially being shot in the head,” she said, adding that his partners dragged him to a squad car and “didn’t waste any time in getting him loaded into” the car and driving him to a hospital.

People continued reporting their homes were being struck by gunfire from the suspect, and the Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center sent out alerts to residents in the vicinity to “shelter in place.”

The man fired multiple shots at a time, then he would stop and start again.

“The suspect was obviously moving” and because it was a wooded area and under the cover of darkness, officers weren’t able to find him, Scheider said. “But they could hear and literally feel and see the shots being fired at them and past them during that hour’s timeframe.”

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At 8:34 p.m., an hour into the incident, a Roseville officer found the suspect outside a nearby residence. That’s when Scheider said the officer returned fire and the suspect was wounded in his groin area.

Officers provided medical aid to the man, who was taken to the hospital and died a short time later.

“We’re still trying to figure out what the motive is and what exactly led up to this event,” Scheider said. “… It was a chaotic scene. It was over an hour of gunfire being fired at multiple different residences, different officers, different squad cars.”

She stopped short of calling the shooting an ambush on officers.

“We obviously don’t know what the intent was,” she said. “We just know it was fairly quickly after officers arrived that they immediately started taking rounds.”

A SWAT team was called out and law enforcement agencies rushed to help, including the Ramsey County sheriff’s office, Minnesota State Patrol, and police from Maplewood, White Bear Lake and St. Anthony.

Body-cam footage turned over

Police did not release the names of the man who died or the injured officer Wednesday. The officer has been with Roseville police for almost three years.

“We are so grateful that the officer is doing OK,” Scheider said. “Anytime you have this serious of an injury in the face, obviously we were very concerned.”

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The police chief said their thoughts are also with the family of the man who died.

“Our officers are dedicated to serving as guardians of our community and preserving life whenever possible,” Scheider said. “Unfortunately, our officers had to take deadly-force action last night to protect lives in the immediate area. This is not taken lightly.”

There were about 15 past police calls for service involving the man, including recent reports, but Scheider said she didn’t have details on Wednesday.

Roseville officers wear body cameras and all video footage from the incident has been turned over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which will be the lead investigating agency, Scheider said.

The BCA was processing evidence at the scene on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, police squads and police tape blocked off a long stretch of the road, which runs adjacent to the west side of Lake Owasso. BCA trucks were parked in front of a residence, where investigators came and went throughout the day.

A tow truck pulled a white Honda Fit from the area, its back window blown out by gunfire.

Mike Garbisch lives just down the street. He had been sitting on his front porch Tuesday night when he heard a “pop, pop, pop.” He initially thought it could be fireworks, but it was raining, he said.

So he walked down to the corner to get a look, then got a spotlight in his face from an officer who yelled at him, “Go north! There’s a shooting!”

He returned home, where over the next 45 minutes or so he heard louder shots and occasional bursts of gunfire.

“Pop, pop, pop, then later bam, bam, bam,” he said. “I would guess I heard around 100 shots. They weren’t all that fast, maybe two or three every minute.”

He then heard more sirens and saw an ambulance make its way around the corner followed by four or five police cars.

“I kept thinking how the cops were out there getting shot at,” he said. “I mean, holy cow … what a way to make a living.”

After hearing the gunshots, Ashley Protivinsky locked her doors and texted with neighbors to make sure everyone was safe.

“It was a shock to the system for all of us,” she said. “We feel for the officer and the family members. It has really shaken up the community.”

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSCRIME
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