Two Minneapolis police officers are on paid administrative leave after allegedly firing their guns while off-duty at a house party late Wednesday.

Police responded to a 911 call after residents said they heard as many as 10 shots from outside a loud party in the 4200 block of Wentworth Avenue S. The house is being rented by a Minneapolis police officer, one resident of the same block said.

When officers arrived just before midnight, they learned that the party had been attended by off-duty cops, said police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer.

At some point during the party, two officers allegedly fired their weapons, he said. Their names have not been released pending criminal and internal investigations, he said.

No one answered the door at the well-kept red house when a reporter knocked Thursday.

Officers are allowed to carry weapons while off duty but are not allowed to drink when doing so, Palmer said.

The "tat-tat-tat-tat-tat" of gunfire awoke several people, including Paul Mogush, who lives right across the street.

"I wasn't even convinced it was even gunshots at first," Mogush, a city planner, said Thursday. "They were so close together I thought it was some kids with firecrackers."

Mogush said he didn't go out until he saw concerned neighbors and flashing police lights outside. Investigators from the department's internal affairs unit were called to the scene, Palmer said.

Michelle Bale, who lives next door, said the neighbor in the house where the party was held moved in about six weeks ago. She said she'd heard music earlier in the evening, but nothing that would disturb her sleeping children until she heard about eight to 10 shots that sounded like fireworks.

"I looked outside; there was no screaming, no running, nothing," she said.

Bale said she was disappointed to learn that police officers might have been involved. "I thought they were just here to protect us, not go off when they've got a little liquor in them," she said.

Mogush said the responding officers handled the situation very professionally as they took statements from residents and answered questions about the incident.

Council Member Scott Benson, whose 11th Ward includes the street where the gunshots were fired, said Thursday he expressed his concerns to Fifth Precinct Inspector Kris Arneson.

Mogush said that the incident doesn't change how he feels about the neighborhood or the police, but added that he would be disappointed if two officers did indeed fire gunshots without cause.

"I don't know what to make of it," he said. "Ninety-nine percent of our cops do the right thing.

"Then there's this." • 612-673-1790 • 612-673-4921