Extra Minneapolis police officers, including Chief Janeé Harteau, were patrolling downtown streets Sunday night near the Epic nightclub where a man had been shot to death in the early morning hours.
She said that the victim, from the North Side, was well known to police and that the people who had been with him at Epic were not cooperating with police.
“I have tremendous concerns about retaliation,” Harteau said. “That is one of the reasons I am here tonight.” She said people who think they can settle scores downtown are mistaken.
Harteau said she had “very little information about a motive or suspect.” She said police didn’t know if gang connections are involved, but that is being investigated.
The homicide victim, whose name has not been released, was killed inside the club after arguing with another man, who shot him and fled. According to police and witnesses, the shooting happened about an hour before the bar at 110 N. 5th St. closed. When police arrived, they found the victim on the sidewalk, where he was pronounced dead.
The 1 a.m. shooting sent many of the 1,000 to 2,000 patrons who were at the club spilling out onto the streets, where officers had their hands full keeping the crowd under control and preventing people from being trampled.
Harteau told reporters that she had added officers to the Warehouse District patrols this weekend because the rapper performing Saturday at Epic, Yo Gotti, often attracts violent crowds. “We had cops everywhere but it still happened,” she said. “We need help from the community.”
She said witnesses with information need to step forward and the city needs to take action against businesses that attract violent behavior.
The chief said city officials need to review club liquor license regulations and what types of performances are allowed. She said police are reviewing security at the Epic to see if it was adequate on the night of the shooting.
She said the Epic has been the scene of previous shootings, that it had 92 calls for service in 2012 and 65 so far this year.
Harteau stopped at several downtown clubs in the Warehouse District after meeting with First Precinct officers at their nightly roll call, saying it was important to let people in the community know that authorities are taking the incident seriously.
“Sometimes people need to understand it is significant enough for the chief to come out,” she said. “I am very concerned about retaliation, about an innocent bystander or an officer getting shot.”
Harteau said she is also concerned about a resurgence of violence as happened in the summer of 2012.
Epic is at the heart of the area where shooting erupted repeatedly in the summer of 2012 at bar closing time. Downtown police patrols were beefed up and the City Council talked about creating stricter bar licensing ordinances. Several clubs agreed to stop hosting under-21 events on Sunday nights until mid-September, use tougher wristbands to identify young people at later under-21 events, employ uniformed security and off-duty police officers, and conduct background checks on all staff members.
Council Member Don Samuels, who represents the North Side and is running for mayor, sat by Harteau at the First Precinct news conference Sunday night. He noted later that the council had added restrictions to licenses of nightclubs since last summer, tightening up bar security and other requirements. He noted that one club closed after seeing the coming restrictions and the city shut down another club that didn’t comply.
The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office will release the victim’s name after notifying family members. Police request that anyone with information text 877411, enter MPD and the tip, or call 612-692-8477.