The suicide of a man suspected in a murder hours earlier Wednesday sparked rioting and looting across Nicollet Mall. Here’s how it unfolded:
Police respond to a report of a shooting at Ramp A in the area of N. 10th Street and Currie Avenue where Eddie George Gordon, 61, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police learned that Gordon had been in a dispute with a woman and the suspect, Eddie Frank Sole Jr., 38, who fired the fatal shot. Both fled and the woman was arrested a short time later, while Sole remained at large.
Police locate Sole walking on Nicollet Mall between 8th and 9th streets. As officers approach, Sole pulls out a handgun and fatally shoots himself. Several witnesses are present at the busy intersection. A crowd immediately begins to grow as police and medics perform CPR on Sole. One man streams a Facebook Live video in which he accuses police of shooting Sole. Others quickly join in.
The area remains cordoned off with crime scene tape as police form a perimeter. The crowd begins to grow and is agitated but peaceful.
Sole’s suicide was captured on city cameras. Minneapolis police release the video to media, and later post it online. “This video has been released to help quell rumors and hopefully thwart civil unrest,” police spokesman John Elder said.
Tension between police and the crowd continues to grow. Some people begin smashing windows while police use chemical irritants to disperse the crowds. Looters run through the downtown Target, Nordstrom Rack and other stores. This continues through the evening.
Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo address the media to stress that Sole was not killed by police and urge people downtown to return home. Frey says he has requested that Gov. Tim Walz mobilize the National Guard and that he will be instituting a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Walz declares a peacetime emergency and mobilizes the Minnesota National Guard, and also directs approximately 150 Minnesota State Patrol troopers to provide support as looting continues. Crowds are pushed out of the heart of downtown, but some property damage continues in other parts of the city.
Authorities say they arrested 132 people through Wednesday evening and night. Cleanup begins in downtown Minneapolis. Frey again urges peace and announces a citywide curfew extension from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday into Friday. Police also remove the video of Sole’s suicide from social media“due to the graphic nature and out of respect to the individual, his family and the community.”