Bogus 911 call from suspect lured Mpls. park police into ambush

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2012 - 10:00 PM

A bogus 911 call Tuesday night lured two Minneapolis park police officers to Minnehaha Creek, where the man who made the call allegedly stabbed the officers before one shot and wounded him.

When investigators interviewed the suspect, Marsenior P. Johnson, 38, he admitted that he called 911 and faked that he'd been robbed because he wanted to draw police in order to attack them. No motive for the scheme was immediately clear, said a police spokesman.

Johnson, of Minneapolis, whose criminal history includes convictions for domestic assault and theft, is currently under guard at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), and it was expected that he would be booked into jail on suspicion of felony second-degree assault when he is ready to be moved. He had not been formally charged Wednesday.

According to police:

Just after 11:20 p.m., two park police officers -- one male, one female -- were dispatched to Minnehaha Parkway at Bryant Avenue S. The caller said he had been robbed at knifepoint by multiple suspects.

The officers encountered Johnson at the intersection shortly before 11:45 p.m., thinking he was a robbery victim.

Johnson then stabbed the male officer in the chest with a knife, but "the officer's life was saved by his body armor, which prevented the knife from penetrating," Minneapolis police said in a statement.

Johnson then stabbed the female officer in the upper back. She also suffered a serious cut to her head when she fell to the street. Her partner then shot Johnson, ending his attack.

Johnson's knife was found at the scene. Medical personnel found another knife in his clothing while treating him at HCMC.

The female officer was released Wednesday morning from HCMC and is recovering at home. The male officer was medically evaluated and is home with his family. Their identities haven't been released.

"This is an isolated incident involving a single suspect," the police statement continued. Asked if Johnson was intoxicated or mentally disturbed at the time of the attack, a police spokesman said it's too early in the investigation to know.

Tom Hyder, who has lived along the creek for about 18 years, had no idea that it was an ambush that roused him from bed just as he was nodding off for the night.

"My wife and I ... we were almost asleep," Hyder said. "I heard the shots, and then we ran to the window and saw the man lying in the street, and the female officer was walking around to her car and then [she went to] the curb and sat down."

Then, after no more than a minute, Hyder said, "40 to 50 police officers arrive. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen." Hyder added that his neighborhood otherwise has been "very quiet" since he moved there in 1994. "We've never had anything like this."

Staff writer Matt McKinney contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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