Two Hennepin County Sheriff deputies sustained non-life-threatening injuries and a 28-year-old man is dead after an exchange of gunfire in a Minnetonka neighborhood late Wednesday morning.

The deputies were executing a warrant in the west metro suburb around 11:18 a.m. when the gunfight broke out, Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt said during a news conference about five hours after the altercation. One of the deputies was transported to the hospital for "very serious injuries," Witt said. The other was treated for injuries resulting from gunfire and released on scene, she said.

Law enforcement leaders at the news conference declined to provide many details as to what happened, including what precipitated the shooting or how the "armed individual" died.

"What we do know is that this individual fired at the deputies and that they returned fire," said Drew Evans, superintendent for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the state agency investigating the shooting. Evans would not say whether investigators believe the deputies killed the person.

Law enforcement officials have not released the name of the man who died, but the Star Tribune confirmed his identity late Wednesday afternoon as Clint Hoyhtya. "Suicide by cop, that's what it is," said Thomas Hoyhtya, the man's father, who owns the home where the exchange of gunfire occurred.

The deputies have not been identified, but Witt said they were eight- and 21-year veterans of law enforcement.

"They are loved," she said. "They are good deputies."

As of late afternoon, the scene was considered active, but Minnetonka police said there was no longer a public safety threat to the area around 13400 block of Crestwood Drive East. Law enforcement agents from around the metro were still on the scene, near Interstate 494 and Excelsior Boulevard, and had cordoned off several blocks around the area. Officers were patrolling the area with rifles and drones hovered above. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was also responding to the scene.

Witt said she had just come from the hospital visiting the injured deputy and his family. "I cannot even begin to tell you the emotions going on right now," she said.

In a solemn tone, she described receiving the call she said every law enforcement leader dreads: "Officer down."

'This has got to stop'

Citing a rise in assaults on law enforcement in Minnesota, Witt said, "This has got to stop. Every single day, first responders are rushing to help others, hoping to keep our community safe. They do not deserve to be threatened. They do not deserve to be assaulted. They do not deserve to be killed for doing their job."

Evans also lamented a rise of shootings against police officers.

"Luckily we're talking about two police officers who are going to recover," he said.

Evans said the BCA will begin its investigation once the scene is cleared, searching for forensic evidence, talking to witnesses and gathering body-camera video. He said a medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the man's cause of death, and Evans urged anyone who saw or heard the shooting or what led up to it to come forward. Evans said he hoped to release more information in coming days as the investigations moves forward.

The shooting comes two months after the fatal shooting of two Burnsville police officers and a medic who responded after an hours-long standoff following a domestic abuse call. In that case, a gunman had barricaded himself inside the home with a woman and seven children. He died after turning his weapon on himself.

As of February, reported assault incidents against officers across Minnesota were up 160% from a decade ago — a metric including everything from intimidation, biting and punching to an assault with a deadly weapon — according to data tracked by the BCA and analyzed by the Star Tribune. Officers had reported at least 3,400 assaults in Minnesota since 2021, with a 10% increase last year, according to the data.

Those who study policing say there is no single explanation for what is driving the attacks, which are up across the United States. They say the increase tracks with a surge in violent crime and the COVID-19 pandemic, along with anti-police sentiment, staffing crises in major law enforcement agencies and a rise in gun ownership.

As details of Wednesday's shooting were still emerging, Gov. Tim Walz called it "another horrific situation" of a Minnesota law enforcement agent being injured in the line of duty.

Walz said the incident "on the horrific heels of what happened in Burnsville with the loss of our three first responders" makes it "crystal clear" that state leaders need to continue to put money into public safety so that law enforcement agencies can "continue to do what they need to do to prevent these." He said lawmakers also need to continue the conversation around gun violence prevention.

Star Tribune staff writers Josie Albertson-Grove, Briana Bierschbach and Mara Klecker contributed to this story.