Authorities are hunting for whoever put “innocent people in harm’s way” and hit four people with gunfire at a huge late-night house party south of the Twin Cities, leaving a woman critically wounded and three men shot among the hundreds in attendance, authorities said Sunday.
The bloodshed that occurred shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday at a rural home in the 4800 block of Elmore Avenue in Rice County’s Webster Township prompted a large response from law enforcement, with personnel from sheriff’s offices in Rice, Dakota and Scott counties, along with police officers from the cities of Lonsdale, Northfield, New Prague and Faribault.
A woman was shot in the chest at the party and was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition, the Rice County Sheriff’s Office said.
“She is going in and out of consciousness” was the word from one of many law enforcement officers on the scene during his update to Rice County dispatch, according to audio captured by the PoliceClips website. The audio said there were multiple guns on the scene and robberies going on.
“Innocent people were put in harm’s way by the actions of some in attendance at this gathering,” Sheriff Troy Dunn said late Sunday afternoon, adding that he’s aware of three vehicles that were shot up during the outburst of gunfire.
The woman shot in the chest was identified as Heather Nery of Rochester. Also wounded were Anthony Shannon, 26, of Robbinsdale; Montez Brown, 24, of Minneapolis, and Henry Brown, 45, of Brooklyn Park, Dunn said. The Sheriff’s Office said all four were hospitalized in stable condition.
County Commissioner Jeff Docken, who represents that part of the county and was briefed by Dunn, said, “There were so many people, I mean a lot. I heard 300 people.” The party was on a 43-acre piece of land with a house and a large utility building, according to county records.
Docken said investigators were having difficulty unraveling precisely what went on, noting that “it seems there’s not a lot of cooperation, that’s the deal. … Somebody will brag about something, and that will be the trigger [leading to an arrest].”
A conflict arose during the party attended by young adults, with gunshots quickly following, the Sheriff’s Office said.
“Our priorities are to locate the suspect [or suspects] responsible for this dangerous situation so that no one else is a victim,” Dunn said. “This would also give neighboring residents their feelings of safety and security back in their neighborhoods.”
Dunn asked that anyone with information, including those who might have audio or video evidence of the altercation or the shootings, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 1-507-334-4391.
Uber driver Michael Hussey of Minneapolis said he was bringing a woman to the gathering when “we got to the rural road leading up to the party houses and stumbled across many cops jumping out of their cars and running with assault rifles up [the] road.”
Hussey added that it was fortunate that “the person we were there to pick up had found a way to call my passenger and was close to us.”
The person being picked up said “there were [hundreds] of people, along with bouncers and radio DJs” at the party.
The woman at the party said gunfire struck a bouncer in the thigh.
“We naturally left quickly and safely,” Hussey said. “The ambulance arrived as we were already down the road.”