Authorities continued Friday to investigate the circumstances surrounding Thursday morning’s fatal shooting of a motorist after a traffic stop in Coon Rapids.
Law enforcement officials have not released the name of the man who was killed, but family and friends identified him as John Fairbanks Sr.
“Our family is devastated with the tragic loss of John,” said Fairbanks’ cousin Vicky UsesArrow in a Facebook message to the Star Tribune. He leaves behind a pregnant wife and young son.
Police were conducting a routine traffic stop on Foley Boulevard just south of Hwy. 10 about 1:40 a.m. Thursday when gunfire broke out. Authorities said the driver of a Ford Taurus got out and started shooting as he ran away.
Coon Rapids police fired back but did not hit or hurt the driver. Officers from multiple agencies joined the search for the man, who was found about 40 minutes later hiding in the backyard of a residence. Gunfire erupted again. One officer from Coon Rapids and a deputy from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office fired their weapons during the incident, with one of the shots fatally wounding Fairbanks.
Fairbanks, 40, who lists his hometown on Facebook as Ball Club, Minn., on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, died at the scene.
“Initial information indicates the suspect posed an immediate threat to law enforcement officers and they were forced to engage the suspect with deadly force in order to stop that threat,” Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart said Thursday.
No officers were hurt, authorities said.
Investigators from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) recovered a handgun at the scene, according to a statement released by the agency. Dash cameras, body cameras and a law-enforcement drone were in use. BCA investigators are now determining how much of the incident was captured on camera.
Investigators were still conducting interviews with those involved and with witnesses, BCA spokeswoman Jill Oliveira said Friday.
Fairbanks has previous convictions for weapons violations, fleeing police, domestic assault and drunken driving, court records show.
“He’d been to penitentiary, but it changed his perspective and he was doing good,” said Michael Howard, another cousin. “He was trying to be a family man. … All I know is that he’s gone too soon.”