State investigators on Monday began the lengthy process of reconstructing what happened when Minneapolis police fatally shot a man outside a home, as more details about the encounter emerged.
Police had been to the North Side home as recently as two weeks ago for an unspecified emergency, according to a Fire Department report.
The report says officers, paramedics and firefighters were dispatched to the house in the 3100 block of N. Thomas Avenue in the early morning hours of Dec. 1, although a firetruck that responded was sent away shortly after arriving on the scene. The report offered no other details about the nature of the call, one of at least four times this year that firefighters were dispatched to the address.
Officers returned to the home shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday after police say a man fired a gun inside, sending frightened residents outside into the cold night. Officials said that after a brief standoff, the man emerged from the house holding a “long gun.” It’s unclear whether he fired his weapon.
No one was allowed near the house on Sunday, but several photos showing the front riddled with dozens of bullet holes appeared on social media on Monday.
As of Monday, authorities hadn’t released the names of the officers involved or the man who died. But, in an interview earlier in the day with Minnesota Public Radio, the victim’s wife identified him as Chiasher Fong Vue, 52. She told MPR that she didn’t believe her husband had posed a threat to the officers.
The victim’s family declined to comment when contacted by the Star Tribune on Monday.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which investigates most police shootings in the state, said it would release the names of the officers after it has interviewed them. A source familiar with the investigation said that nine officers have been placed on standard administrative leave. Eight of them fired their handguns, while one shot a less-lethal weapon, according to the source.
A monthslong process
The source also shed light on what happened Sunday morning. As officers surrounded the house, the man poked his head out the front door. His daughter pleaded with him to come out. But seeing all the officers, he ducked back inside. About 30 seconds later, he returned, clutching an older model Soviet-designed assault rifle, which he apparently pointed at the officers, who then opened fire from about 100 feet away.
On Monday, the BCA started a monthslong process that includes interviewing witnesses, reviewing body-camera footage and ballistics testing on the dozens of bullets fired by officers, some of which flew into the home.
Officials said that officers’ body cameras and dashboard cameras from responding squads were rolling during the incident, and the footage would be turned over to the BCA.
Police Department spokesman Garrett Parten said Monday that he couldn’t comment on a pending investigation.
Little is known about Vue, who, according to court records, had lived with his wife at various addresses on the North Side over the past decade and a half. The records show that he had a minimal criminal history. His most recent conviction was in 2016 for driving while under the influence. In his guilty plea, Vue admitted to having had a couple of beers while taking “traditional Asian medicine for my diabetes,” before getting behind the wheel.
Sunday’s shooting was the second fatal officer-involved shooting in Minneapolis this year. The first took place in early August, also in the Jordan neighborhood, under similar circumstances as officers fatally shot Mario Benjamin, 32, after he reportedly shot and wounded his longtime girlfriend. The status of the investigation into that case is not clear.
According to an analysis of Police Department data, 22 of the 49 fatal and nonfatal officer-involved shootings since 2008 have occurred in the 4th Precinct, which covers neighborhoods on the city’s North Side, where relations between police and the community have historically been strained. It also has some of the highest crime rates in the Twin Cities. Of 10 fatal police shootings in that span, six occurred on the North Side.
Hours after the shooting, a spokesman said that officers had been called to the home earlier this month, but it wasn’t clear whether he was referring to the Dec. 1 incident or a different one. On Monday, department officials said that they could not provide information about previous police calls to the address.
Staff writer Kim Hyatt contributed to this report.