A criminal suspect was shot and wounded after exchanging gunfire with police Thursday morning along a busy north Minneapolis street.
The shooting broke out about 8:30 a.m. along Dowling Avenue near Vincent Avenue. One round of gunfire hit a squad car, but no officers were struck. Police spokesman John Elder said that while the suspect was subdued by rubber rounds and bean bags, "We do believe he sustained injuries from gunshot wounds."
The wounded man was apprehended, taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and was expected to survive, Elder said. His identity has yet to be released.
The encounter was connected to a reported gun-pointing incident several minutes earlier in another part of north Minneapolis roughly 1½ miles to the southeast, the spokesman said.
A 911 caller said a man had pointed a gun at them near Lowry and Logan avenues, Elder said.
Police showed up, then followed the suspect as he drove off. But he soon crashed on Dowling, a long east-west thoroughfare that cuts through the entire width of the North Side from the Mississippi River to Victory Memorial Drive.
That's when nearby resident Chris Hewitt started up Facebook Live and became an informal documentarian as others came up and asked him what was going on while sporadic gunfire echoed from down the street for several minutes.
"The cops got out of the car and I heard pop, pop, pop," Hewitt said from safely outside the police perimeter. "He shot first, I know that. … He started firing at them and [the officers] dropped. … He's just shooting randomly now from the car."
Hewitt, a 50-year-old real estate agent who lives a couple of blocks from the scene, said, "I thought it was important [to record an account]. There is a lot of hurt on many fronts. I wanted to make sure the truth is out there."
City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, whose ward includes where the gunfire occurred, said in a Facebook post that "shots fired by police officers should be the absolute last resort."
At the same time, he continued, "We also cannot tolerate someone wantonly shooting guns in our neighborhoods, let alone at City employees. This enforcement action in response to the dangerous, violent behaviors on Logan and Lowry has been much needed. Thank you to the 4th Precinct leadership for prioritizing 911 response and proactive enforcement at this intersection."
Video from a bystander shows a pair of officers taking cover behind a squad as about 10 rounds of gunfire are heard.
Residents of the Cleveland neighborhood awoke to flashing lights and peered out to see officers stretching yellow crime tape in a five-block radius around Dowling.
Those walking their dogs in the falling snow stopped to watch agents from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension scrutinizing the scene.
Most residents were unaware a shooting had occurred. One man reported hearing noises a few hours earlier, but suspected they were firecrackers — until police arrived.
Dispatch audio from officers on the scene said the suspect was believed to have a long rifle and that a heavy-caliber round struck a squad.
"We're gonna need a bunker set up," one officer is heard saying.
According to the audio, an officer is heard yelling, although what he says is unintelligible.
Seconds later: "Officer needs help, officer needs help, Dowling and Upton.
"Listen up, we have shots fired at this address, officers have exchanged gunfire with the suspect in a cease fire."
"Where's the suspect?"
"Still moving in the back seat … the guy's still up, he's hiding in the back seat, he's supposed to have a long rifle," the officer said — adding a warning that the street was "solid ice" from rain and snow.
Staff writers Liz Sawyer and Libor Jany contributed to this report.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482