Burnsville police officers shot and killed a man allegedly brandishing a knife in a McDonald’s parking lot Thursday morning — the first fatal police shooting in the city in 35 years.
Police Chief Eric Gieseke said the five officers involved in the incident were wearing body cameras, capturing footage of the shooting.
“Please, please be patient with us as this is an active investigation,” Gieseke said at a news conference near the shooting scene just off Hwy. 13 and Washburn Avenue S. “We owe it to the community, the deceased, the department and the individual officers involved to make sure we have all the information before giving out too many details. Once we know the integrity of the investigation will not be compromised, and in consultation with the county attorney, we will get you as much additional information as we can.”
Gieseke said five police officers responded at 6:15 a.m. to a suspicious person at the McDonald’s parking lot. Gieseke said the man was holding a weapon when he was shot, but he would not elaborate on what the weapon was. No officers were harmed, he said. It was the first officer-involved shooting resulting in death in Burnsville since 1981. Burnsville police began equipping officers with body cameras in 2010, one of the first departments in the state to do so. Gieseke has been a steady presence at the Capitol as the Legislature determines how to regulate the use of devices and who can access the footage.
Gieseke said it will be up to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is assisting with the investigation, to release the body camera footage. A request for the footage made by the Star Tribune on Thursday was denied, citing the active investigation.
Scanner audio posted on the Police Clips website provides a window onto the scene.
A customer and employee called police on a report of a man parked outside the restaurant “Jumping up and down inside the car … it appears he may be waving a knife back and forth inside the car,” a dispatcher told officers. The vehicle, an older Pontiac, had been parked there for 30 minutes.
“I can see him jumping around in the driver’s seat,” an officer radioed. Officers began to box the car in and block off the parking lot when an officer radioed that the suspect was “coming out with a knife.”
“Shots fired, officer OK, we got one suspect down and we’ll take medics,” an officer radioed. “Everybody good?”
Police quickly called for backup to tape off the scene. Two witnesses were separated and questioned.
A person who answered the phone at the McDonald’s declined to answer questions. Crime scene tape surrounded the area late Thursday morning, while half a dozen officers and crime lab vehicles remained on the scene. The restaurant, which closed after the shooting, reopened Thursday afternoon.
A body covered in a sheet lay in the parking lot. Records show the vehicle involved belongs to a 57-year-old Richfield man. No one answered the door at the man’s home.
Thursday’s shooting was the second police-involved shooting death in the metro this year. Last month 52-year-old John Birkeland was shot and killed by Roseville police after they entered his apartment following a noise complaint from a neighbor. Police sent in a K-9 and Birkeland stabbed the dog in the head before he was shot. The dog survived.
Staff writer Tim Harlow contributed to this report.