Acting on a tip that someone was planning to shoot up a funeral in north Minneapolis on Monday, law enforcement officers set up surveillance at Estes Funeral Home to try to head off violence.
But gunfire still rang out in the parking lot of Estes, in the Willard-Hay neighborhood, with bullets striking and wounding two men as funeralgoers ducked for cover.
Witnesses said the shooter jumped into a white Lincoln Navigator that was seen fleeing the scene shortly after the shooting stopped. Undercover officers later tailed the SUV to a home in the 2700 block of N. James Avenue, where it sat parked for several minutes, according to court filings.
Officers later pulled over the Navigator and arrested the two occupants. The passenger was taken to the hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound. The SUV's driver was later booked into the county jail on suspicion of fleeing police in a vehicle, according to department spokesman John Elder. The Star Tribune generally does not name suspects before they are charged.
The victims were both men, ages 41 and 40, he said.
The shooting broke out about 2:50 p.m. in the parking lot of Estes Funeral Chapel, a well-known mortuary at 2201 Plymouth Av. N. that sits across the street from Thor Construction's $36 million headquarters and down the block from the 4th Precinct police station.
Dozens of people had gathered for the wake and funeral services of a 40-year-old man who died last week. Members of the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force had been surveilling the proceedings after learning about a possible gang-related shooting, according to court filings. When the gunfire started, several task force agents followed the suspect vehicle.
Gang funerals and vigils are sometimes marred by violence, police say, with shooters counting on their rivals' friends and relatives, possibly gang members themselves, gathering in one place and letting their guard down.