Minneapolis officer wounds man suspected in shooting

  • Article by: MATT MCKINNEY and PAUL , Walsh
  • Updated: August 9, 2011 - 9:59 PM

Man shot someone and minutes later is shot himself by Minneapolis police.

A man suspected of shooting someone at a south Minneapolis public housing complex Monday night was confronted and shot minutes later by Minneapolis police, authorities said.

As he recovered from a police gunshot at Hennepin County Medical Center, Leroy Martinez, 23, of 1426 Penn Av. N., was charged Tuesday with second-degree assault in connection with a shooting near the playground of the Little Earth of United Tribes public housing complex. Like Martinez, the victim in that shooting is expected to live.

The shootings took place around 11:15 p.m., when two off-duty officers working for the housing complex and three on-duty officers heard gunshots near 25th Street and Cedar Avenue S.

As they responded to the gunfire, officers saw a man running. The officers ran after him. The accounts of police and an eyewitness interviewed by the Star Tribune differ on what happened next.

According to police, Martinez drew his gun, refused orders to drop it and was shot by Minneapolis officer Terry Nutter. Yet Delora Iceman, who lives at Little Earth of United Tribes, said the man had thrown his gun to the ground and held his hands in the air when Nutter shot him, after the officer warned that he would do so.

"He had no reason to shoot that little boy," said Iceman, who said she witnessed the scene from her balcony.

Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer disputed Iceman's account. "That is not consistent with other statements ... from other independent witnesses," he said.

Officers Steven Herron, Derek Chauvin and Brandon Brugger and Lt. Gwen Gunter were also at the scene, according to the department. Nutter, Herron, Chauvin and Brugger had been in the area tracking and arresting a fugitive on a felony warrant when they heard the gunshots.

Nutter has been a police officer since 2004 and has long worked off-duty at the Little Earth of United Tribes, according to Little Earth president and CEO Bill Ziegler. "A great officer," said Ziegler. "This is one of the officers that I totally trust."

Ziegler vouched for the officer's actions, as well, saying he spoke to witnesses who told him Martinez drew his weapon. A surveillance video of the shooting exists, according to Ziegler, but the security camera may have been partially obstructed by a tree.

A copy of the video was turned over to the Police Department, he said. All of the officers were put on standard three-day administrative leave.

Police and the department's internal affairs unit are conducting separate investigations. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call police at 612-692-TIPS.

Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329 Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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