MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Five protesters were hospitalized Monday night after a shooting near the 4th Precinct on Minneapolis’ north side, and witnesses say the gunmen were white supremacists targeting those demonstrating in the aftermath of Jamar Clark’s death.
Police responded to the shooting Monday at 10:45 p.m. on the 1400 block of Morgan Avenue North, which is located one block north of the 4th Precinct.
Witnesses said the gunmen were white supremacists who were hanging around the rally before others asked them to leave. The witnesses said the men came back a short time later and fired six shots at protesters.
All five victims are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Two were taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center, while three others were driven to North Memorial Medical Center.
On Tuesday morning, police said they arrested two men in connection to the shooting. One, a 23-year-old white man, was arrested in Bloomington; the other, a 32-year-old Hispanic man, was arrested in south Minneapolis.
Police say they are looking for other suspects.
Meanwhile, additional uniformed officers have been stationed near the 4th Precinct to protect people in the area.
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges released a video statement on the shooting.
“I abhor last night’s attacks. They have no place in our city,” she said. “We are sparing no efforts to find the suspects and to bring them to justice.”
After the shooting, a crowd gathered at the scene and emotions ran high.
“Everyone has been on high alert because in the last several days there have been lots of conversations of white supremacists’ websites and chatrooms, where they talked about coming to the protests,” Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima Levy-Pounds said. “They talked about having weapons and also doing things that would agitate the crowd and incite confrontation between police officers and protesters.”
Levy-Pounds says grief counselors will be on hand Wednesday for Clark’s funeral. A dinner is also planned for Thanksgiving Day.
Clark’s brother, Eddie Sutton, released a statement following Monday’s shooting, calling for an end to the precinct protests.
“[I]n light of tonight’s shootings, the family feels out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the 4th Precinct ended and onto a next step,” the statement said.
However, protesters say they will not be shutting down the protest as people continue to bring firewood, food and water to the protest area.
“I urge people out here to proceed with caution,” Levy-Pounds said. “People have to decide if they are comfortable being here, but many of us are saying we will not turn around, we will not back up we will are not afraid. We are going to continue to stand up for what we believe in.”
Protesters have been outside the 4th Precinct for nine days, ever since 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot and killed by police after a scuffle last Sunday.
Witnesses say Clark was handcuffed when an officer shot him in the head. Police dispute that claim, saying Clark was trying to grab an officer’s firearm, and that they were justified in using deadly force.
The group Black Lives Matter has called on city leaders to release video footage captured of the incident, but authorities say it would harm their investigation into the incident. Protesters are camped outside the 4th Precinct, refusing to leave until the footage is made public.
Sen. Al Franken said Tuesday that he was “horrified” to learn about Monday’s shooting.
“I understand that a search for the shooters is currently underway, and I join residents of the North Side in demanding that they be brought to justice,” he said. “In the meantime, my thoughts are with Jamar Clark’s family and the injured.”
A community concert is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday. The group Sounds of Blackness will be performing and the protesters hope the concert will promote healing and unity.
Before that, there’ll be a protest march at 2 p.m.