Nick and Sarah Bloom were startled from sleep Thursday night by the sound of gunshots outside their home on a usually quiet Bloomington street. Their bedroom was lit up with the red glare from flashing squad car lights, and they heard shouting.
When they peeked out the window, they saw a man lying faceup on the curb bordering their front yard and five or six police officers, guns drawn, advancing on the man.
But by that time, he was probably dead.
According to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the case, Bloomington police responded to a report of a suicidal person at a home in the 9900 block of Briar Road at 11:13 p.m. Thursday. The man, who had a gun, began walking through the neighborhood as police shadowed him. Voice traffic on the police scanner indicated that the man pointed the gun at both himself and at police.
The final confrontation occurred in the 5800 block of W. 99th Street, about four blocks from the location of the initial police call. Gunfire broke out after the man refused several orders to drop his gun, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said. Officials have not yet said whether the man shot himself or police shot him. The man’s name has not been released.
On Friday, police had neighborhood streets cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape for several hundred yards around the scene. Pink spray paint in the snow marked the spot where the man died, and technicians were busy processing the scene.
Nick Bloom said he heard at least six or seven shots. The man’s body lay there, uncovered, for five or six hours until it was taken away about 5:30 a.m. Friday, Bloom said. A handgun was next to him, Bloom said. Sarah Bloom said the man appeared to be wearing a white hoodie, black pants and boots. His face wasn’t visible.
The Blooms stayed in their house throughout the incident. Some time later, police came to their door to make sure they were OK, they said. On Friday afternoon, Nick Bloom said he hadn’t slept since the shooting; his wife said she nodded off for about 45 minutes. The couple have lived in the home for more than 10 years.
About a block away, Carrie Sophaphanh said she came home around 11 p.m. Thursday to find two squad cars parked near her house.
“I was going to put out the garbage, but I decided to stay in the house,” she said. Some time later, she heard a series of popping noises and police cars speeding off in their direction.