Woman Shot, Killed By Police On I-394

MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) — A woman is dead and an officer is on leave after a shooting on Interstate 394 Thursday afternoon.

Just after 1 p.m. Thursday a Golden Valley police officer attempted to pull a woman over near Interstate 394 and Highway 169. According to a police report, the woman was in possession of a handgun and the officer shot her. She died on scene. Traffic in the westbound lane was stopped for hours while police investigated.

“All the sudden we see cars flying off the on-ramps. They were going at least 90 miles an hour, just flying,” said witness Eric Gunderson.

For University of Minnesota students Eric Gunderson and Jeff Helseth, a trip to Plymouth to pick up a couch took a much different turn. While driving west on Interstate 394, police stopped them under the Hopkins Crossroad bridge. That’s when Gunderson said he heard a gunshot.

“More cops kept showing up. Everyone getting out was drawing guns,” said Gunderson. “If we would have left a minute and a half earlier we might have been right there with them,” said Helseth.

See Rachel Slavik’s original report on the incident here.

Gallery: Officer-Involved Shooting On I-394

On the other side of the police cars and flashing lights, a woman lay dead.

According to Golden Valley Police, an officer had tried to pull her over in the westbound lane of 394. A police report said the woman had a gun and the officer shot her.

“We walked across the bridge and you could see a body laying next to a white Honda Civic with California plates. We don’t know if it was a traffic stop gone wrong,” said Gunderson.

Investigators are releasing few details other than to say the officer has been put on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. Information about who the woman was or what led to the shooting is not being released at this time. They are also not saying why they originally pulled the vehicle over.

For Gunderson and Helseth, a simple drive to the west suburbs turned into an afternoon they will never forget.

“My heart is still pounding three hours later. I’ve never seen anything like it except on TV,” said Helseth. Business owners near the scene said they heard multiple gun shots.

A Hennepin County Sheriff’s spokesperson said more details could be released Friday.

WCCO’s Dave Lee Interviews Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek

More from John Lauritsen
  • Ken

    More info Today sometime – speculation is pointless until all the facts are in

  • zee the reporter

    again the cops are so gung ho at shooting people!

    • Kevin

      Zee I took a ride along with a Maplewood Cop this summer. If you want to see a war zone do the same. You will have a whole different understanding of what cops face day after day. I was not a big cop fan, but my mind changed instantly. This cop touched the trunk of every car he pulled over….why?…..so his DNA and or fingerprints were on the vehicle incase he was killed…….think of that…..great job huh? Imagine you go to work everday and felt that you had to leave DNA and fingerprints everywhere just incase you were killed….These are brave heros. Some bad? Sure…bad is everywhere….do a ride along…….its like cops only at high speed….

      • @Kevin

        Wow Maplewood is a war zone, lol lot of murders and armed robbery that night you rode around? You sound pro police which i am also, but lets not make it sound like they’re patrolling baghdad. Also it’s nothing like cops, because cops only shows the action scenes, an average night in a suburb for a P.O. can be quite routine.

        • SB

          Maplewood has gone way down hill. Too much building (townhomes/condos) lead to lower property values which leads to….. I live in Roseville and our cops are always going to out Maplewood to help. I’ve witsnessed first hand the cops touching cars. I alsways wondered why. Now I know.

          • Another Reason

            In training they told us its to make sure the trunk is closed, you never know when someone might be in it ready to jump out and run, or shoot. I was never told it was for DNA, but that would work.

      • Kevin the Cop Groupie

        @ Kevin..did you have gay sex with the cop too? How’s that uniform fetish workin for ya? Did you throat his nightstick?

    • Rasputin

      zee. You should just leave…. You are a cop hater with no purpose in life and are definitely not a reporter….

  • Think about it

    Justified baby!

  • The Jig Is Up

    Agreed. Signs are pointing to some kind of coverup or backpedaling.

    • @ the jig moron

      you are truly one of the dumbest pucks that posts here – beyond dumb but stupid is to weak a work too.
      Pull your head out of your rear and join the living you pimple faced fruitcake

    • Hey piggy, piggy

      Well, cops are involved. The likelihood of truth being involved is fairly small.

    • Jig for fishin' dummy

      Think it is called a gig in English there dumbhead but …. ya dumb so we excuse you. lol

  • Earthman

    We living in L.A. now or what? This isn’t the Twin Cities I grew up in.

    • SB

      No, Chicago moved west!

  • Sue J

    Thank you boys in blue!! Great Job!

  • derduh

    Earth to you this wasn’t a fatality by car accident, when a shooting is involved by an officer highly unique situation.

    • Hey Police hater

      Sure was a fatal one – and she was waving a pistol.
      Our son watched the whole crazy thing as it occured on the north frontage road as he was biking
      Terrible thing but YOU DO NOT SHOW A PISTOL TO A COP after you have refused to stop.
      You would have done exactly the same thing – or peed yourself as you passed out I suppose – and if you say otherwise I will flat out call you a LIAR

      • Hey piggy, piggy

        Cool. Just don’t call me a “liar liar, pants on fire.” The police might show up and shoot me dead for brandishing fire.

  • Rasputin

    TL and I.M. — I don’t think either of you actually know how long it takes to process a crime scene. You two dorks are a perfect example of the CSI effect.

  • The Crux of the Buscuit

    Absolutely correct. The officer better have some form of proof his life was in danger.

    • @ Crux

      a gun …. that is ALL he needs.
      go watch Sesame Street now Crux and eat another donut before your mommy gets home.
      best hurry

  • Jean

    Prayers for the officer and his family.

    • Wait until facts are in!

      Prayers should go up for all victims involved in this situation not just the officers!!

      • T

        Very rarely is anyone who is shot by a cop a “victim.” The cop is the victim for having to shoot someone. Praying is pointless anyway, you should be doing.

        • Bob
          • Hey piggy, piggy

            Oh I’m sure it was an honest mistake. Cops aren’t out there to purposely hurt people. I mean, when was the last time you had an interaction with a cop and he was anything but a nice person? Oh, right, they’re almost always out and out a-holes with an axe to grind. I wonder of the woman was black, or brown of some sort? That would be SHOCKING. Or perhaps she was the one who purchased said cops favorite last donut at the gas station, and there was no way he was going to let her get away with that sort of injustice.

        • Hey piggy, piggy

          You may very well be one of the stupidest people ever to comment in the Strib. And that’s saying a lot. Not just run of the mill dumb, but a very unique breed of “believe whatever I’m taught and told” kind of stupid. The sort that could win an award if there were contests for idiots. You see where I’m going with this? You’re dumb.

  • The Crux of the Buscuit

    Sue J – I wonder how gung-ho you would be if it was you on the receiving end. I mean a women with a gun gets shot and based on the story we have no way of knowing why yet you sound like you want to throw a victory party. You must be a “Christian”…..

    • One less waste


  • Justified, period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I don’t care what the case was you get out of your car on a freeway holding a gun you are just asking to be shot. Reading these comments about was it “warranted” is such bull, you go out and have someone get out of their car on a freeway holding a gun. Would you stand there and say “ma’am would you please put the gun in your car and stand there like a good little girl”. I mean come on people get real. The intentions of this lady were clearly not good if she got out of her car with a gun, period. Get over your anti-gun self and live in the real world for once.

    • Hey piggy, piggy

      You are really a special kind of idiot.

  • craig

    thinking about it….nope shouldn’t killl just mame

  • Bad spot to be in

    “Officer – I was not attempting to flee
    Officer-this is a toy gun I have here
    Officer ____ please officer, you just have to trust me here with this gun”

    He did what anyone would do with even half a brain. I feel for him as it is not a choice anyone should have to make.
    I do feel for her and her family too – what and why would someone be so crazy and reckless makes no sense. It is almost like a suicide wish. Tragic – Sad – but he did what he had to do.

  • John

    If given a choice of going home to your family or letting someone holding a gun going home to their’s I am sure most all of you would make the same decision as tbhis police officer did. If anyone believes they could do the job as a police office better – you are more that welcome to become one. My guess is after 1 week on the job you would change you mind about the job that they do.

    • Hey piggy, piggy

      If the only choices you have the ability to make in your tiny little mind is to either kill or be killed, then perhaps police work isn’t for you. You, also, are one of MN’s finest morons.

  • Lol

    Cops protect each other. There is far more consequence if he didn’t shoot her than if he did. It is also better that he killed her than wound her because now there really is no witness other than what the cop says.

  • Reasonable

    Took me an hour and a half to drive less than 10 miles home last night. Usually takes about 15-20 minutes…

    This is why we need dashboard cameras. It protects the officer in a case such as this and provides evidence of harrassment if the officer is being a jerk. Win-win as far as I’m concerned.

  • topchop551

    Being a police officer and having worked the metro here and down south (georgia) There is waaaay to much left out of the story to know if the officer was justified/a hero/or the villian in this picture.
    Lets just say the officer picked a car and said I will stop it today for no reason AND DO NOT TELL ME THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!! and he approached the car agressively firearm drawn or unsnapped. Now who is the victim!!!!!!!!! Not the officer do not be tooo quick to judge what you do not know!!!!!!

  • Anita

    did she hold the gun up to show the officer she had one or did she step out of her car with it in her hand if so she sould have not did it that way. for the office did not know what she was going do ,why was he stopping her because she was out of town and or speeding he has adashboard cameras. in his car dont he and call it in when he went to stop her ,so she was out of town and alone, if that was me id have have my gun with me to, this day and time if your a lady or a man and gun is not consealed u have a right to carry one to protect your self, i care my 357 with me always and will always care it too many unanswered questions but we all know that it not easy for an officer they never know what there faceing when they stop some one that for sure, and just because she a lady does not mean she would have not shot him look at the prison today there some mean lady in this world some meaner than any man so let see what the dashboard cameras.shows befor we are so quick to judge this office ok we are not the ones that was faceing this he was and the lady in the car was so let get what realy happen frist. i know one thing we do have good cops and bad ones but think if we didnt have officers there just like u and me people that risk there lives each and ever day to protect us,god was there and he is the only one that has the right to judge this man not us ,we cant say what we would have done till all facks are in as to what hapen on this day and why it was done the way it was, if his life was in danger what choice did he have.

    was she was going use it did she get out and point it at the officer if so then yeah he had a right to shoot her maybe she was just trying to let him know she had it with her in the car with her the best thing she could have done is stoped stayed in her car, did she got out? when the officer aproched her let him know she had a gun in the car on the passanger seat with both her heand raised up high in frount of her , i care mine and if i get pulled i frist unload my gun on the seat and lay my gun beside the bullets and rasie both my hands up when the office aproches i tell him i have gun that laying on the passanger seat unload bullets are beside the gun and the barriel open, i never had a problem because i let him know with both hands up in the air.

    • Reasonable

      It’s frightening that someone with an, at best, 5th grade education is carrying a .357.

      Just, wow….

      • Hey piggy, piggy


    • yeah right

      @anita, you have trouble spelling. I doubt you own a gun.

  • Hey piggy, piggy

    Yes, I’m sure your son’s anecdotal eye witnessing of it justifies a fatal shooting. You’ve no doubt gone to the police and volunteered him as an eye witness? I’m sure you have. You know nothing more than what you’ve heard second hand, and that’s far from the truth.

    But please don’t call me a liar. That would hurt my feelings and I could hardly take it. Please!

  • Bill

    The Cops are WORSE than the Robbers!

  • Gman

    This seems like a long time for no comment! They should at least be reporting if there is a squad car video of the incident.

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