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St. Paul police chase ends in Minneapolis shooting

  • Article by: Tom Ford and Joy Powell
  • Star Tribune
  • October 11, 2007 - 12:03 AM

A drug suspect was in satisfactory condition today after St. Paul police chased him into a south Minneapolis neighborhood, where a St. Paul police officer shot and wounded him after the man shot at the officer and his police dog, hitting the animal.

The suspect was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with gunshot wounds to his hand and buttocks, said St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh Tuesday evening.

The man, Hector C. Aguilar, 41, of Bloomington, was listed in satisfactory condition today, an HCMC spokeswoman said.

The dog, shot in the right front paw, underwent surgery at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, where he was recovering.

Earlier in the evening, St. Paul police had been waiting near West Seventh and Davern Streets, where the suspect was expected to arrive with drugs. The man showed up, along with a second man, but fled in a pickup truck, Walsh said.

He led police on a chase west into Minneapolis, to Chicago Avenue and East Minnehaha Parkway, where the man's truck crashed into another vehicle after turning onto Minnehaha. The driver of the other vehicle was injured, but not seriously.

The suspect bolted. The officer and his dog gave chase, Walsh said, but the man fired at the officer and the dog, hitting the German shepherd. The officer returned fire, striking the man.

Travis Martin, who lives in the area, said he was talking on the phone when he heard sirens and saw a pickup driving on Chicago Avenue. Martin looked away but soon heard screeching tires and a loud crash.

Then, Martin said, he heard: "Boom! Boom! Boom!"

It sounded like eight or nine gunshots, he said. He hurried to the scene and saw someone on the ground being tended by officers, Martin said.

At the University of Minnesota, veterinarians found that the dog, Rico, had been lucky: The bullet entered the back of a right paw and exited the front, missing any bones, said veterinarian Melissa Kellogg.

When Rico arrived, he had a high temperature and rapid heartbeat. But by 9 p.m., his sedation was wearing off and an alert Rico was standing on his injured paw. "He is doing well," Kellogg said. "All his vitals are down to normal."

Police did not release the name of the officer, who was placed on paid leave pending an investigation, as is customary in officer-involved shootings. He and Rico were trained as a narcotics detection team in 2006.

tford@startribune.com • 612-673-4921 jpowell@startribune.com • 612-673-7750

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