An armed man was killed in Columbia Heights early Tuesday morning in a shooting that involved police officers from Columbia Heights and Fridley, some of whom wore body cameras, authorities said.
The cameras, which were worn by the Columbia Heights officers, could supply critical evidence in the investigation led by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
Authorities on Tuesday did not release the names of the officers involved. One officer each from Columbia Heights and Fridley was placed on paid administrative leave.
The man shot has been identified as Michael Kirvelay by Patrick R. Burns, an attorney hired by a family member.
Two Columbia Heights officers went to the 700 block of 40th Avenue NE. about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday in response to a 911 call about a person with a gun at a business. According to a neighbor, the business is said to be a cleaning service.
“A woman was yelling, requesting police assistance,” Columbia Heights Police Chief Scott Nadeau said.
When officers arrived, they encountered the man in a hall inside the building’s main entrance. The man subsequently displayed a weapon, which the BCA declined to describe.
The family believes Kirvelay was armed with a BB gun, Burns said.
“The officers called for assistance and additional officers from Columbia Heights and Fridley police departments arrived. The man refused officers’ repeated calls to show his hands and at one point officers fired, striking the subject,” according to the BCA news release.
Burns said the victim’s sister wonders if police could have used less lethal methods.
“They allegedly shot him in the face four times,” Burns said. “They would not let my client view the body. They said it would be too traumatic for her.”
Neighbor Joann Gulbranson said that a business moved into the vacant building about a year ago and that she often sees people coming and going there day and night.
Last summer, two distraught young women exited the building with suitcases and sat on the front steps waiting for a ride, Gulbranson said.
Nadeau said that all evidence, including body camera footage, will be examined by the BCA, which is overseeing the investigation with the help of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and Columbia Heights and Fridley police.
Columbia Heights was one of the first departments in the state to issue cameras to all 27 of its officers and require that they be turned on during interactions with the public.
The suburb of 19,500 people borders northeast Minneapolis.
Gulbranson, who has lived in the city for nearly 40 years, said police have a good reputation in Columbia Heights.
“The Police Department is great here,” she said. “They take care of everything around here.”
Staff writer Karen Zamora contributed to this report.