MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting in St. Paul.
No officers were injured in the incident, which happened on the 400 block of Earl Street Thursday night.
Police described this as a very dangerous situation involving young children. Around 6 p.m. they were called to a home in the Dayton Bluff neighborhood for a domestic violence incident.
A woman called 911 after she says a man inside the house shot at her twice.
Responding officers found that woman a block away from the home, without any injuries. She told police that children were still inside the house. By the time officers went in, the suspect was gone.
Police made sure the kids were safe. As many as five young children were present when the initial shots were fired before help arrived.
“What I can tell you from an officer perspective involved in these type of situations, especially involving children, is how do we keep these children safe in this situation? No officer ever wants to be involved in a situation like this,” Sgt. Mike Ernster said.
Officers then searched for the suspect and found him not far from the home. At some point during that encounter, shots were fired.
On Friday afternoon, authorities identified the man as 28-year-old Phumee Lee.
“We were in our kitchen and we heard rounds of fire going off. It could have been 20, it could have been 30,” said Bridget Krieglmeier.
An evening conversation in the kitchen was interrupted by multiple gunshots. And when Krieglmeier looked outside her home on Euclid Street, she saw a man lying in her neighbor’s lawn.
“And he was probably gone instantly. You could tell he probably got hit in the head,” she said.
Police said earlier in the evening Lee he had fired a gun at a woman, who family members are identifying as his wife. They said a gun was found at the scene where Lee was shot by officers. Paramedics tried to revive him, but couldn’t.
“My car got hit straight on. The window, the grill, and the radiator,” Krieglmeier said.
Krieglmeier said was shot as many as five times. Gunshots also hit trees and a recycling bin.
“They put a tent over the body. They had tape everywhere around. They wanted to talk with people in the neighborhood so we gave them some statements,” she said.
According to police records, Lee had been convicted of domestic assault in 2009 and 2012. Neighbors are relieved to know that none of the children in the home was harmed.
“It’s just something I don’t understand and if there is something I can do to help, that’s how I feel,” said neighbor Brad Schaefer.
Police are giving limited information now that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is overseeing the investigation.
A number of officers were involved in this shooting but police have yet to give an exact number.
Officers were wearing body cameras which were activated at the time of the shooting. Paid administrative leave is standard procedure following an officer involved shooting.
Friends and family say the couple is married and has five children together, the oldest 5 years old. According to police, those kids were home during the domestic incident that eventually led to shots fired.