St. Paul police fatally shoot man they say fired at officers

ST. PAUL -- St. Paul police say a man fired at officers Thursday afternoon and police shot back, killing the man. No officers were injured during the incident.

Police officers control the scene near 2163 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul, where a shooting took place Thursday afternoon. (SCOTT TAKUSHI | PIONEER PRESS)

ST. PAUL -- St. Paul police say a man fired at officers Thursday afternoon and police shot back, killing the man. No officers were injured during the incident.

Officers were conducting an investigation on the 2100 block of East Minnehaha Avenue, near Winthrop Street and a couple of blocks from the Maplewood border, when they encountered a man in a bedroom of the home about 2:15 p.m., said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman.

“The male was armed and preliminary information leads us to believe that he fired at officers,” Linders said. “An officer or officers returned fire, striking the male. ... Thankfully, no officers were hurt as a result of this shooting. It was a very dangerous situation.”

Police did not provide information about what kind of investigation they were conducting Thursday, but a police report shows officers had been at the home last week and found suspected methamphetamine, marijuana and a rifle.

After Thursday’s shooting, paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office will confirm his identity.


Tom Christopherson, who lives about a half-block behind the shooting scene, said he was gardening in his back yard when he heard two or three shots, a pause of no more than a second, and then five or six more shots.

He heard nothing else and went to the front of his house. Christopherson said he saw a woman who appeared to be in her 30s who was being put in the back of a squad car. Another man in the neighborhood said he heard three shots and soon saw a man in handcuffs being taken into custody.

“I’m actually a little floored that shots were fired in this neighborhood, said Christopherson, who has lived in his home for about four years. “This is a pretty safe neighborhood.”

Some neighbors were aware of recent police activity at the home where the shooting occurred, and a police report showed officers had responded to the residence at 7 a.m. May 17 after a woman said a man at the home had a felony warrant for his arrest and that “there were four or five people in the house with a lot of meth.”

Officers did not find the man with the warrant, but saw suspected meth and marijuana “in plain view ... on a TV tray with other items used to package meth,” according to the report. Police seized the suspected drugs, a rifle they found when they checked the residence for anyone hiding, and a handgun magazine with five live rounds. Officers also noted there were cameras on the sides and back of the residence.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the officer-involved shooting because the St. Paul Police Department has begun having outside law enforcement agencies conduct such investigations. The BCA is interviewing people and expects to release more information Friday, a spokeswoman said.

The officers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard in such cases.

On Thursday afternoon, Shoua Yang was walking her dogs in the area when she heard sirens and headed to her Reaney Avenue home because she wasn’t sure what was happening. She went inside and was playing the piano when she said she heard a faint gunshot.


“Your instinct is to duck down,” she said, adding that she dropped down to the floor. After hearing no more shots, Yang went out and checked in with a police officer, who she said told her there had been a shootout.

Police had a large presence on East Minnehaha Avenue after the shooting, and a section of the street remained blocked off Thursday night.

Eastern Heights Elementary School, which is roughly a half-mile from the home where the shooting occurred, was put on lockdown for about 15 minutes, according to a school district spokesman.

Thursday’s officer-involved shooting was the second in St. Paul this month. Early on May 9, the BCA reported that 33-year-old Jaffort Smith shot a woman in the face and fired at officers in the North End. Police fatally shot Smith after he “ignored repeated calls for him to drop his weapon,” according to the BCA.

Jaime DeLage contributed to this report.


Man killed in shootout with St. Paul police ID’d

Related Topics: CRIMEPOLICE
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