A carjacking suspect was shot and killed by St. Paul police Sunday afternoon during an exchange of gunfire that also left a teenage bystander injured.
The suspect, believed to be an adult male, fired at officers after exiting the rear driver’s side of an SUV that he had taken by force — and with its two occupants still inside, police said.
The shootout was the second time in less than a week that St. Paul police have exchanged gunfire and wounded suspects. Last week a suspect sought in the killing of a Mendota Heights police officer ended up in St. Paul. He shot at police trying to arrest him. He and a woman with him were shot.
Sunday, the gunfire erupted about 4:30 p.m. in the Frogtown neighborhood following a brief pursuit that began with the carjacking on the city’s North End.
During the exchange, a 14-year-old boy apparently suffered a grazing wound to his abdomen. He then ran with a friend through yards to a garage about a block from W. Minnehaha Avenue at N. Arundel Street — where the shots were fired.
Chris Ellis, who lives on Van Buren Avenue, and who was working on a table in his garage, said that the boy was shaking when Ellis called 911.
“He wanted me to hold his hand — so I held his hand until the cops showed up,” Ellis said. “He’ll be fine, but I was glad to help him out a little bit.”
The teen was taken to Children’s Hospital, where he was being treated Sunday night, police said.
The suspect died while en route to Regions Hospital.
Sgt. Paul Paulos, a police spokesman, said that the four officers involved in the shooting have been placed on three-day administrative leave, which is standard policy. Two officers suffered minor injuries during the incident, police said.
At the shooting scene, a large pool of blood could be seen alongside the silver SUV, and one of five police vehicles parked behind it had a shattered driver’s side window.
The carjacking reportedly occurred on Jackson Street near E. Cook Avenue.
A witness to the incident, who declined to give his name, told the Star Tribune that the suspect crashed his own vehicle into a fence on Jackson Street and then attempted to flee on a bicycle. He abandoned that effort and then fired two shots at the SUV to get it to stop. He then climbed into the passenger side, the witness said. Officers first caught up to the SUV with Wisconsin plates a short distance away on Como Avenue, according to scanner traffic recorded on the “Police Clips” page on Facebook.
Police still were sorting out details of what occurred on the North End.
At Minnehaha Avenue and Arundel Street, the suspect was seen by the two teenage bystanders getting out of the SUV “with a gun,” said Lisa McKenna, who is engaged to Ellis.
The boy who was struck had a hole in his shirt. He had a bruise in his side, and the flesh was torn, said Ellis, adding: “He got lucky. He just got grazed.”
Andy Gilbertson, who lives at N. Arundel Street and Van Buren Avenue, said that he was outside with his 3-year-old when the shots were fired. He’s heard shots too often, he added.
“We all have kids,” he said. “We’re just sick of this stuff.”
Ellis is new to the neighborhood, having moved to Frogtown from Eagan about a month ago. He and his fiancée are happy to be there, even after the afternoon incident.
“We have great neighbors,” McKenna said.
About 90 minutes after the shots were fired, and with the crime-scene tape still up a block away, Ellis was calmly raking his yard.