A brazen daytime carjacking in south Minneapolis Monday afternoon left five people injured, including two teenage girls in critical condition.
In all, the vehicle crashed into a vehicle and bakery, rammed a squad car and struck the girls before jumping a curb, hitting a streetlight and bursting into flames.
“This could have been a lot worse, and we are thankful more people weren’t injured,” said Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder, who called the incident “horrific.”
“The suspect had zero regard for life, public safety or anything else,” he said. “The fact that he was still trying to get away when the car was on fire is mind boggling.”
Surveillance video obtained by KSTP-TV showed the girls entering the crosswalk to cross the street, then trying to move out of the way as the car approached. They were struck near the bakery, which Elder said sustained “major damage.”
The incident started at 17th Avenue S. and E. 26th Street about 2:15 p.m. An off-duty officer in a marked squad saw two people acting animated and went over to see if there was a problem.
The officer then received a report of a person driving erratically on 17th Avenue S. As the officer drove that direction, he noticed a car parked sideways that he believed might have been in an accident, said Elder.
It was later learned that the car was hit by a man who had carjacked a vehicle a few minutes earlier. Further down 17th Avenue S., the officer discovered a car crashed into the bakery at 17th Av. S. and E. Lake Street. The driver then spun around and rammed into the front-end of the squad, said Elder.
The driver continued to flee police, going into upcoming traffic on E. Lake Street. The car jumped the curb, hit a streetlight and burst into flames, said Elder.
“The driver refused to get out of the vehicle despite the fact that it was on fire,” Elder said.
With the car on fire, the suspect tried to drive away. Officers caught up to him and dragged him out of the car to safety, said Elder. He was arrested and taken to HCMC for treatment.
Officers soon realized that the suspect had hit two teenage girls at E. Lake Street and 17th Avenue S. A person inside the bakery was also injured and is in serious condition. A fifth person was injured, but refused medical help.
Elder said the officer whose squad was rammed was not injured. The squad had minor damage.