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A pair of police shootings in St. Paul on Tuesday left two men dead and a veteran officer recovering from shotgun wounds.
Officer Daniel King, a nearly 11-year veteran of the department who works the city's East Side, underwent surgery Wednesday at Regions Hospital, where he was described as stable. Police officials declined to discuss the extent of his injuries, but said he was sitting in his squad car and wearing body armor when he was shot just before midnight Tuesday.
The late-night shooting capped an already violent day for the department, in which four officers were involved in an afternoon shooting that left one man dead.
Police said Victor T. Gaddy, 41, was shot and killed after he tried to ram squad cars during a drug stop. Chue Xiong, 22, was shot and killed after he fired on King and his partner, who were investigating a theft.
"We had two incidents yesterday that are well beyond what we would call ordinary," said Assistant Chief Robert Thomasser. "As much as this shook us at the foundation within the department, we know that ... yesterday was a significant day for the community," Thomasser said. "We are very much working hard to determine ... what has led to these incidents, and we'll get to the bottom as to trying to figure out how to prevent these things in the future."
Thomasser said the department is working on ways to reach out to the community.
In the first case, police officers stopped Gaddy about 4 p.m. in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood at the request of Minneapolis police, who said he was a suspect in a narcotics investigation. When he used his car to ram unmarked squads, officers felt that "their lives were in jeopardy," officials said in a statement Wednesday.
In the second shooting, Xiong allegedly stole a shotgun and a compound bow from a home on Flandrau Street, where he lives with his family. The theft was reported about 11 p.m. and about 30 minutes later police encountered him in the parking lot of the Hope Community Academy charter school in the 700 block of Payne Avenue, across the street from the Police Department's Eastern District office. When he fired his shotgun, officers fired back, police said.
Authorities have not said in either case which officers fired their weapons, or how many times Gaddy and Xiong were shot, citing the ongoing investigations.
Gaddy's friends and family chastised the police for their handling of his arrest.
Susan Johnson, Gaddy's aunt, said her nephew was an easygoing and funny guy who would have never tried to evade officers.
"We recognize this as a senseless killing," she said. "We believe there is more to the story and we intend to have those facts come out."
Gaddy's family hired an attorney to investigate the incident. The way police have described Gaddy as "some sort of drug king" isn't true and the police are looking for a way to justify their actions, said Johnson.
"There wasn't a warrant for his arrest, there were no drugs in the car and he didn't have a weapon," she said.
Gaddy, who has new baby, lived with his girlfriend in St. Paul. His aunt said he was attending college and liked spending time with his family.
Several sources in law enforcement, however, reported that Gaddy was the target of a Third Precinct community response team investigation that had been going on for several weeks. He was a source for several drug dealers, and was on his way to sell a substantial amount of crack cocaine to a police informant in St. Paul, the sources said. Gaddy was considered more than a street-level drug dealer, police said.
A large amount of crack was found next to Gaddy in his car, the sources said. One other person in the car was questioned and booked for possession of a controlled substance. Another was questioned and released.
Wednesday afternoon, Minneapolis Police Department spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer tweeted that the narcotics case related to Gaddy's shooting was closed and additional details would be made public Thursday.
Extensive criminal record
Gaddy has an extensive criminal history and Minneapolis police have had nearly 100 contacts with him. He was last in prison around 2005.
Third Precinct Inspector Lucy Gerold said she arrested Gaddy in a home invasion in 1998. That same year, Gaddy was acquitted in the killing of two alleged gang members in Minneapolis.
Peace activist K.G. Wilson was attending another funeral Wednesday when he learned about Gaddy's death. He said he had crossed paths with Gaddy, whom he described as a well-known person in Minneapolis.
"It hurts," Wilson said. "I felt maybe I could have saved him."
Police identified the officers involved, all veterans, as Edward O'Donnell, Mark Farrington, Joshua Raichert and Christopher McGuire. All are on standard three-day administrative leave.
St. Paul police spokesman Howie Padilla said authorities are investigating whether the officers were inside or outside their vehicles when they fired. Neighbors reported hearing about 12 gunshots and then seeing officers surround the vehicle.
Witnesses reported seeing one man Tasered in the backseat of a squad car. Padilla said that was not the case.
Hours later, a second shooting
Xiong was fatally shot about eight hours later when King and officer Brian Wanschura saw him near Payne and Minnehaha Avenues. The officers drove their marked squad car into the parking lot, where Xiong was on foot.
Xiong raised the shotgun as they arrived and gunfire was exchanged, police said. At least one round hit the squad car and King.
Xiong's brother, Fue Xiong, said he didn't know anything about what happened. He said his brother is the youngest of six children and graduated from Roseville High School. He declined to comment further.
Records show that earlier this month, Xiong's family called police to report that he allegedly took his mother's car without permission.
Staff writers Joy Powell, Paul Walsh and Vince Tuss contributed to this report.