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Police release details of Franklin shooting

  • Blog Post by: Matt McKinney
  • September 19, 2013 - 11:46 PM

Terrence FranklinWhat follows is the Minneapolis Police Department narrative of the May 10 shooting of Terrence Franklin. This information was made public on Sept. 19, hours after a Hennepin County grand jury cleared officers of any wrongdoing in the incident.

On May 10th, 2013 at approximately 1:58 pm, the maintenance manager at an apartment building located at 2743 Lyndale Ave S called 911 to report that a burglary suspect was on the property. That call lasted for 8 ½ minutes.

This is a still image (right) isolated from surveillance video shot by a camera inside that apartment building on May 10th just prior to the 911 call you heard. A similar image, taken from the same video was handed out by the 911 caller that afternoon as police were searching for their suspect, described by multiple witnesses as a black male with dreadlocks in a ponytail, wearing red pants and a black shirt. One of the surveillance images given to officers that day was also used later by investigators to confirm Terrence Franklin’s identity with the owner of the blue PT Cruiser.

At approximately 2:10 pm, Department of Corrections Officer Dave Scheibel, MPD Sgt. Gerald Moore, and MPD Sgt. Kathy Smulski arrived in response to that 911 call.

After Franklin crashed into the marked MPD squad car and fled the parking lot, he parked the PT Cruiser in the rear of 500 W 28th St, a fact officers later learned from a witness who called 911. That witness described a black male with dreadlocks in a pony tail wearing red pants, and a black shirt who she saw park the PT Cruiser and run away on foot, jumping fences. The witness also reported seeing a woman exit the car with two small children after the male had run away.

The apartment building maintenance manager called 911 a second time on May 10th at approximately 2:15 pm. That call lasted for more than 15 minutes and was how officers learned that Franklin had run into Flander’s Brothers bike shop at 2707 Lyndale Ave S.

The registered owner of the PT Cruiser later told investigators that she received a phone call from Franklin telling her he had been stopped by police and where she could find her car. This call occurred at approximately 2:18 pm, while he was hiding inside the bike shop. Witnesses from the bike shop later told investigators that he was acting nervous, pacing, and repeatedly looking out the windows as if he was watching for someone. At approximately 2:21 pm, Franklin ran from the bike shop as Officer Rob Illetschko arrived out in front of the shop in a fully marked squad car and in full uniform. Officer Rob Illetschko gave chase on foot, but lost sight of Franklin as he ran through alleys and yards.

At 3:13 p.m., a Minneapolis park police department squad was approached by the homeowner from 2717 Bryant Av. S. who reported a broken window on his back door.

This photo, and the others you will see on the following slides were taken by members of the MPD Crime Lab while processing the scene. These are photos (right) showing the damage to the rear entry door caused by Mr. Franklin forcing his way into the home.

After learning that no one should be in the home and receiving permission from the home owner to search the house, Sgt. Andy Stender yelled inside, identifying himself as a Minneapolis Police K9 officer and ordered anyone inside to exit the home. He also announced that anyone inside was likely to be bitten by the dog if they did not immediately surrender. After receiving no response, Sgt. Andy Stender, K9 Nash, Officer Lucas Peterson, Officer Mark Durand, Officer Ricardo Muro, and Officer Michael Meath entered the home at approximately 3:19 pm. Other officers maintained a perimeter around the exterior of the house in case anyone ran from one of the other doors or out a window.

This (left) is what the officers saw as they entered the home through that damaged door.

This stairway leads to the second floor. To the right is a similar set of stairs that wrap around to the left and lead into the basement.

Sgt. Andy Stender ordered Officer Mark Durand to take up a position at the top of those stairs as the rest of the team searched the first level of the house. Finding nothing on the first floor, the group prepared to make their way upstairs. Sgt. Andy Stender again announced their presence and ordered anyone in hiding to surrender or risk being bitten by the dog. After receiving no response, the team moved upstairs leaving Officer Mark Durand at his post near the top of the basement stairs.

During the search of the second floor, K9 Nash appeared to catch the scent of something in or near a bedroom closet. No one was found there, but investigators would later learn from the homeowner that this closet held a blue robe that was ultimately found with Franklin. Finding no one on the second floor, Sgt. Andy Stender, Nash, Officer Luke Peterson, and Officer Ricardo Muro returned to the first floor and prepared to search the basement. Officer Mike Meath stayed behind momentarily to double check the second floor to ensure nothing had been missed.

This is what officers saw from near the top of the basement stairs. The only light in the basement when they entered was coming from a doorway window directly behind them as they went down the stairs. None of the basement lights were on. Before the officers went downstairs, Officer Mark Durand told them that he had been hearing movement from the basement.

Sgt. Andy Stender announced their presence for the third time and gave several warnings for anyone in the basement to come upstairs and surrender or the dog would be sent downstairs. After receiving no response, Sgt. Andy Stender sent K9 Nash downstairs and proceeded after him, followed by Officer Mark Durand and Officer Luke Peterson.

Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, Nash went right briefly, into what officers would later describe as a pantry or storage area, before going left, followed by Sgt. Andy Stender, Officer Luke Peterson, and Officer Mark Durand.

Seeing that multiple rooms would have to be covered during the search, Sgt. Andy Stender called upstairs for additional officers. Officers Ricardo Muro and Mike Meath responded. Sgt. Andy Stender followed Nash into the laundry room along with Officer Luke Peterson, who was acting as his cover officer. Shortly after entering the laundry room, which was approximately 10 feet deep by approximately 11 feet wide, Nash alerted to a scent on the other side of this wall.

The group exited the laundry room and attempted to go past the water heater to continue their search. The space between the wall and the water heater was approximately 18 inches wide. That space was concealed with a number of items that had to be cleared out of the way. After removing those items, Sgt. Andy Stender sent Nash past the water heater.

Nash eventually located Franklin hiding under a pile of items in this area and attempted to pull him from his hiding spot. Franklin, who was wearing the blue robe he had taken from the upstairs closet, stood up and attempted to shed the robe, causing Nash to lose his hold. Franklin then began kicking Nash.

Sgt. Andy Stender, who was in this area, ordered Franklin to show his hands, which were concealed behind his back near his waist. He gave the order three times and Franklin did not respond. Sgt. Andy Stender would later report to investigators that after the 3rd command, Franklin “twisted a little from side to side”. He told investigators that he was afraid Franklin was armed and attempting to retrieve a weapon. Sgt. Andy Stender went past the water heater and punched Franklin in the face. When he still did not show his hands, Sgt. Andy Stender struck him again, this time with his flashlight. Still Franklin did not comply with the commands to show his hands. Sgt. Andy Stender asked the other officers on scene if anyone had a Taser. None of them did.

Sgt. Andy Stender then tried to pull Franklin out from behind the water heater so there would be room for other officers to assist. Officer Mike Meath, who had been in this area, grabbed Franklin by the shoulders and attempted to assist. Officer Mike Meath would later report to investigators, “Once I grabbed a hold of the suspect, he immediately started thrashing his upper body left to right using his elbows in an attempt to strike me.

While I was holding him I attempted to deliver 2 to 3 knee strikes with my right knee to his stomach and chest area. On my last knee strike the suspect used my pulling momentum against me and exploded forward, pushing me backwards to the point where I lost a hold of his shoulders.” Officer Mike Meath was wearing a tactical holster which held his handgun on his right thigh, the same leg he had been using to deliver knee strikes. Officer Luke Peterson, Officer Mark Durand, and Sgt. Andy Stender all reported in their statements to investigators that they recall hearing an officer yelling, “Are you grabbing my gun?”

After knocking Officer Mike Meath off balance and freeing himself from Sgt. Andy Stender, Franklin charged toward Officer Luke Peterson and forced him backwards into this wall. Officer Luke Peterson grabbed hold of Franklin by the hair and attempted to force him to the ground. Franklin, who was 5’11 and weighed 196 lbs, was able to free himself and he turned and charged toward Officer Mark Durand, who had moved to this area during the initial physical struggle to remove Franklin from behind the water heater.

Officer Mark Durand and Officer Luke Peterson described this to investigators as something like a football tackle. It caused Officer Mark Durand, who is approximately 5’6 and weighs approximately 150 lbs, to leave his feet as he was thrown backwards into the dark laundry room. Officers Mike Meath and Luke Peterson followed, with Officer Ricardo Muro just behind them.

As Officer Mark Durand was forced off his feet and backwards into the laundry room, he removed his right hand from the pistol grip of the MP5 in order to brace his fall and ensure that his handgun remained holstered when he landed. Officer Mark Durand told investigators, “As I was falling, I looked down and could see that [Franklin’s] finger was now inside the trigger well on my MP5. I took my left hand and attempted to push the muzzle of the barrel down and away towards my left. I screamed, “He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!” and then 2 shots went off.” Two 9mm discharged cartridge casings were found at the base of the washing machine. These casings came from Officer Mark Durand’s MP5. One of the rounds fired by Franklin struck Officer Ricardo Muro, the other struck Officer Mike Meath. Sgt. Andy Stender dragged Officer Ricardo Muro to the base of the stairs and ran outside to secure his dog so he could return and assist in evacuating him.

After falling to the ground, Officer Mark Durand and Franklin continued to struggle for control of the MP5. During that struggle, the flashlight mounted on the barrel of the weapon turned on briefly, lighting up Officer Luke Peterson. He reported seeing that light travel up his body toward his head. He had already heard his fellow officers screaming that they had been shot and told investigators that he believed Franklin was going to shoot him. In his statement to investigators, Officer Luke Peterson said, “ The suspect was going to continue to shoot at us so I collapsed into the submachine gun. I did this because my brain told me to trap the barrel of the gun with my bullet proof vest. I instinctively knew I would survive gunshot rounds to my vest and I also knew that by doing this it would prevent officers behind me from taking additional gunshots. I used myself and the vest essentially as a body bunker for the officers behind me and to prevent the suspect from shooting me in the head…I reached out in the darkness and felt for [the suspect’s] head. I needed to do this because the light was either trapped by my body of had shut off…the suspect was still trying to work the weapon and was in control of it…I remember feeling the dreadlocks in the suspect’s hair again and knew in the darkness where he was at. I also knew that Officer Durand was close to the suspect’s head so I brought my handgun close to me and at a different angle so as to not shoot Officer Durand.” Officer Luke Peterson then fired his handgun 4 times, stopping when he no longer felt Franklin fighting for control of the MP5.

At the same time, Officer Mike Meath, who had fallen to the ground after being shot, also made the decision to use deadly force. He later told investigators, “ I remember lying on my butt on the basement floor and hearing the sounds of a struggle directly to my left. As I looked to my left I could make out two silhouettes. The first one I recognized as the suspect due to his dreadlocks. He was positioned on the ground sitting up with Officer Peterson directly on top of him. I could still hear “He’s got a gun”…As I looked toward the suspect and Officer Peterson’s position I immediately observed that the two appeared to be struggling over something…I immediately believed that this was the gun that was being yelled that the suspect had. I remember feeling extremely scared as if I was going to die in the basement along with Officer Peterson. I also remember after hearing someone yelling they had been shot that the pain I felt in my right hip area was my own gunshot wound…The next thing I remember was holding my firearm in my hands and firing…I remember the suspect’s body going limp against Officer Peterson…At that point I immediately knew that I had to tend to my gunshot wound. I remember feeling extremely scared because I knew I only had 30 seconds to get the tourniquet on.” Officer Luke Peterson and Officer Mark Durand immediately went to the aid of Officer Mike Meath and applied a tourniquet to his leg.

At approximately 3:29 pm, ten minutes after officers had first entered the house, Department of Corrections Officer Dave Scheibel, standing just outside the house, heard multiple gunshots from inside. He immediately entered the house along with an MTC Officer and aired that shots had been fired. He saw Sgt. Stender coming up the stairs on his way out to secure his dog and was told that an officer had been shot. DOC Officer Dave Scheibel immediately went into the basement to assist.

 

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