ROCHESTER - A man died by suicide in front of a TV station Thursday night, Rochester policesaid, after more than four hours of crisis negotiations.
Rochester police said the man, whose identity hasn't been released, made suicidal threats throughout the day on social media and in calls to media outlets including KSTP TV in the Twin Cities. No specific threats were made to any other person or organization.
"This is not the outcome we wanted," Police Chief Jim Franklin said.
The man parked his car in front of KAAL TV in a strip mall just off Hwy. 52 in southwest Rochester after 2 p.m. Police found him and locked down the area, including nearby businesses.
Franklin said police tried to get the man to surrender while he threatened to shoot himself, officers or anyone who walked near. Negotiations turned sour over time, police said.
Police put a pepper ball inside the man's car around 6:30 p.m. The man fired several shots through his front window at police, according to the department's account, but no officers were injured. Franklin said no officers returned fire and the man was later found dead in the car.
Rochester police turned the scene over to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
KAAL staffers inside the studio broadcast evening shows, while reporters were allowed back inside the building shortly after 7 p.m.
KAAL News Director Brianna Cook called the situation "heartbreaking" and said the station would provide counselors to the staff in the coming days. The studio will continue its nightly broadcasts.
"It's just a really tough situation," Cook said. "We're just so sad for the family."
Where to find help
Families can find mental health information and resources for crisis care on NAMI Minnesota's website, namimn.org. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor.