A Brooklyn Center police officer shot and killed a man early Friday after a traffic stop and an ensuing struggle — less than a block from the motel door on which a bloodied man had banged for help before dying, just 24 hours before.
Despite their proximity in time and place, the fatal episodes were “totally unrelated,” said Brooklyn Center Police Cmdr. Tim Gannon.
“This is not typical,” he said of the bloodshed, noting that there has been only one other fatal shooting involving a traffic stop and a Brooklyn Center officer in the past two decades. And Thursday’s homicide was Brooklyn Center’s first since 2011, he added.
There was no immediate word on what led to Friday’s officer-involved shooting. Through the morning’s investigation, the body of the person who was shot lay in the weeds near the van involved in the incident. The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office has not yet identified him, and the Sheriff’s Office was offering few details.
The traffic stop occurred around 2:20 a.m. Friday near the intersection of Shingle Creek Parkway and the entrance ramp to westbound Interstate 94. The area was blocked off to traffic for 12 hours after the incident.
Gannon would not reveal whether the officer involved in the fatal shooting was placed on administrative leave, saying only that Brooklyn Center police would follow internal policy regarding the officer, while allowing the Hennepin County sheriff to investigate the case to avoid a conflict of interest.
‘On my way to the morgue’
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old man who was shot early Thursday near the motel that is tucked behind the same intersection was identified by his mother as Michael McGowan of Minneapolis.
McGowan was shot sometime before 3:30 a.m. Thursday, close to the Super 8, said his mother, Rosalind Baker. There had been no arrests in the killing Friday, but police say they do not believe the shooting was random.
“We believe the suspect and the victim were acquainted,” Gannon said.
Personnel at the Super 8 weren’t sure what to think. As Brooklyn Center police and Hennepin County sheriff’s vehicles blocked the intersection, puzzling out-of-town hotel guests and converging motorists, Super 8 personnel either declined to be interviewed or quickly changed the subject.
“The hotel had nothing to do with any of this,” said a substitute manager who asked not to be identified.
All Rosalind Baker, McGowan’s mother, knew was that “somebody shot” her son. Baker, of Des Moines, said as she arrived in the Twin Cities that she was “on my way to identify his body. … I’m on my way to the morgue.”
Baker said that her son had been in Minneapolis for about four years but was not working or going to school and was living with a girlfriend.
A van outside the motel drew the attention of investigators and was towed from the scene. It is registered to a 27-year-old man and under an address in the 2700 block of Bryant Avenue N. Baker identified the van’s owner as McGowan’s cousin and said her son had been using the cousin’s van regularly.
McGowan, whose identity had yet to officially be released, got the attention of motel staffers as he banged on a door on the southwest side of the motel “asking to come in, and he was bloodied,” Gannon said. Officers’ efforts to revive him were in vain.
Gannon said it appears that his wounds were suffered within a block or so from the motel and that he had come from the area of a nearby Denny’s restaurant that is south of the Super 8.
Police have “developed a lot of information from the witness,” he said. “We are following up on all leads.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 763-503-3115.