Police officers fatally shot a man late Saturday night after he led Edina police on a brief vehicle pursuit and then exited the car in Richfield with what appeared to be a knife.
The man, identified as Brian J. Quinones, 30, of Richfield, posted an apology on social media and livestreamed the pursuit, causing some to conclude that he had intended for the night to end in police gunfire.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.
As Quinones’ friends and family grieved Sunday, posting messages about the father, painter and aspiring hip-hop artist on social media, about 170 people gathered in Richfield on Sunday evening for a vigil to remember Quinones and draw attention to the second officer-involved shooting in the Twin Cities in a week.
Bryan Vinces, a longtime family friend of Quinones, said that Quinones was married and had a son. He was born in Puerto Rico but had lived in Minnesota for decades, attending high school in Burnsville. He worked at General Mills and was also a barber on the side, Vinces said.
“Family was kind of the most important thing to him,” Vinces said. “He wanted to be the dad that his dad wasn’t to him.”
Vinces described Quinones as a funny, kind man who gave great advice. After his family, music was “everything” to Quinones, Vinces said.
As Quinones’ rap music blared from speakers at the vigil just outside the Seasons Park Apartments, family friend Barb Kelly said Quinones was always concerned about his mother, who lives in Puerto Rico and who suffered because of the many storms there. “He was sweet and easygoing and loved his family,” Kelly said. Quinones’ mother will be flying in from Puerto Rico in the next day or so, she said.
Musically, Quinones went by the name “Blessed The MC” and released a new album called “T.I.M.E. (This Is My Everything)” on Saturday, the same day he died. He shared the album on Facebook, writing, “I Pray You Treasure It … My Hearts Inside It.”
It was no secret that Quinones had struggled over the past decade, Vinces said, citing issues with finances, his living situation and relationships. “We knew that he had it rough,” Vinces said.
Still, no one talked about Quinones as being depressed, and Quinones didn’t mention mental health problems, he said. Vinces speculated that perhaps Quinones hadn’t wanted to bother other people by sharing the extent of his troubles.
Kieran Butler, a friend from high school, described Quinones as “very loving and caring” — someone who tried to defuse violence and whose music was generally inspirational.
In a Facebook post just before the livestream, Quinones wrote, “So sorry.”
‘Drop the knife!’
About 10:20 p.m. Saturday, Edina police officers reported to dispatch that a man ran a red light near York Avenue and refused to pull over, authorities said. A chase ensued into Richfield, where the driver continued running through stoplights, according to emergency dispatch audio. Police forced the vehicle to a stop near E. 77th Street and Chicago Avenue.
Quinones recorded himself driving and repeatedly glancing in the rearview mirror as flashing red-and-blue lights tail him in the background. He appears calm, bobbing his head to the radio and occasionally singing along.
At the 12-minute mark, he suddenly stops the car and jumps out with what appears to be a knife in his right hand. Officers can be heard screaming something unintelligible in the background, then rush forward with their guns drawn. Multiple officers fire at least five times, pause, then fire about five more rounds. “Shots fired! Shots fired!” can be heard over the music.
Quinones’ phone continues recording for another 97 minutes as police secure the scene behind an apartment complex.
Hearing the commotion, dozens of nearby residents gathered behind the police tape in view of Quinones’ body. Family members huddled together, sobbing in the rain, and an increasingly agitated crowd screamed at police for using lethal force.
A statement early Sunday from Edina and Richfield police said that officers from their departments had responded and that no officers had been injured.
“The Edina and Richfield police departments express our thoughts and prayers to all those involved in this tragic incident,” the statement said.
Sean Gormley, the executive director of Law Enforcement Labor Services, the union representing Richfield officers, said in a statement that all of the facts in the case aren’t yet known and that investigators must be allowed to do their job.
“These are some of the most difficult scenarios officers will ever face in their careers,” he said. “No officer ever reports for duty hoping to be involved in something like this.”
At Sunday’s vigil, some questioned why officers had to resort to deadly force, rather than nonlethal alternatives such as Tasers or the use of other de-escalation tools.
After the vigil, demonstrators then marched onto Interstate 494, chanting and briefly blocking traffic.
Staff writer Dee DePass contributed to this report.