One person was killed and three more wounded in an early Sunday shooting in a Mankato parking lot that scattered more than 100 people leaving an event sponsored by a student group.
According to police, people were heading out of the Kato Entertainment Center just before 2 a.m. when a fist fight broke out. That was followed by gunshots, yells and screams.
Police had not released the name of the dead person as of Sunday evening. Police said that they do not believe the incident was a random act and that they were confident there was no further danger to the public
According to a recording of the police dispatcher who sent officers to the center, a female caller reported being hit in the face and said a man was trying to hit her with a car. The dispatcher said the woman also reported that shots were being fired and that there was blood on the ground.
Tania Cordes, the center’s owner, said in a written statement Sunday that the event was sponsored by the South Sudanese Student Association at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
She said about 140 students attended, no alcohol was served and the evening was peaceful until a scuffle broke out as the event was ending.
“I do not know the reason for the scuffle — and neither did anyone I spoke to today,” she added in an e-mail to the Star Tribune.
Three people were arrested at the scene, and they remained in custody Sunday night. The three victims wounded in the parking lot were being treated at a hospital for injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, said Mankato Police Cmdr. Jeremy Clifton.
He said the three suspects, including a possible shooter, were being held while police sort out motives and determine if more than one person fired a gun. He said witnesses heard from three to eight shots fired.
“This is a rarity in our community,” Clifton said. He said gangs are not a problem in Mankato, but gang violence hasn’t been ruled out; it appears some attendees came from other cities and states. He said it wasn’t clear if the victims were innocent bystanders, if they knew the shooter or shooters, or if they had been involved in the fight.
The shots were fired about 1:50 a.m. outside the Kato, at 200 E. Chestnut St. Clifton said officers recovered a handgun from a 21-year-old suspect, who is being held pending charges of possessing a pistol without a permit. Public records indicated that the 21-year-old was from Omaha, Neb. A woman who answered the man’s phone identifying herself as his sister said he was a college student living in Omaha.
Two other suspects were arrested in connection with what police described as “obstruction of legal process.” Jail records show that they are a 22-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman, both from Mankato.