The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday it won’t be releasing any information “at this time” about the fatal shooting of a Richfield man by suburban officers because investigators haven’t completed interviews with witnesses.
The written statement quoting Sheriff David Hutchinson is the agency’s first official word about Saturday’s killing of Brian Quinones, who fled police in his vehicle before allegedly confronting them with a knife, and comes four days after the incident sparked public concern and protests.
But the sheriff continued to withhold the names of the five officers involved and has not revealed more about the events of that night, saying it has not concluded interviews with several witnesses. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting.
“I understand the tremendous interest and concern of the community regarding this incident,” said Hutchinson. “I am committed to making sure that our office conducts a complete and impartial investigation.”
Quinones, 30, was killed in Richfield near E. 77th Street and Cedar Avenue after allegedly running a stop light about 10:20 p.m. in Edina. Edina officers pursued him into Richfield.
The sheriff said it would be premature to release details about the shooting, which prompted about 170 people to attend a vigil at the scene Sunday evening before several demonstrators marched onto westbound Interstate 494 and blocked traffic for about 30 minutes.
“Releasing video of the incident or other information before we have concluded interviews with the witnesses may jeopardize the thoroughness of the investigation,” Hutchinson said. “I ask for the public’s patience and understanding.”
Three officers from Richfield and two from Edina were placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting.
Richfield police and an Edina city spokesperson said Tuesday that the shooting was captured on seven squad-car dash cameras and that both agencies were looking at releasing them. (There is no body camera footage.)
Richfield officials said video of the incident would be released “in the near future” while those in Edina said they could possibly release theirs before the case is resolved, which remains a rare move in Minnesota.
Edina and Richfield released joint statements about the shooting the night it occurred, and issued separate updates the following day expressing sadness about the shooting. Edina officials said Quinones “confronted” officers with a knife after he exited his vehicle.
Quinones, who lived in Richfield, livestreamed the pursuit on Facebook, capturing himself jumping out of his vehicle with what appeared to be a knife, along with obscured views of officers running up to him. Images of the shooting were not captured on his video, although the sound of police yelling at him and gunfire can be heard.
Quinones’ friends have questioned whether police could have defused the situation or used nonlethal force.
Quinones’ family is being represented by the same legal team that won a record $20 million settlement from the city of Minneapolis for the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was killed by then-officer Mohamed Noor.
Richfield and Edina have deferred ongoing queries to the Sheriff’s Office. That’s common practice in Minnesota when an outside agency investigates a police department, although no law prevents any agency from releasing some information about such incidents. Certain data is protected in active investigations.