MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New details released by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Sunday paint a clearer picture of what led up to a police shooting that left a man dead, and a community in mourning.
According to the BCA, at least one person called 911 around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, claiming a man was shooting off a silver handgun near the 4800 block of Bryant Avenue North in Minneapolis.
Once two Minneapolis police officers arrived on scene in the same squad car, they found the man — identified by family members as 31-year-old Thurman Blevins — sitting on a curb with a woman. He started running and the officers ran after him.
At one point during the encounter, both officers fired their guns, and Blevins was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lt. Bob Kroll, Minneapolis Police union president, is adamant the two officers were justified in their actions.
“When the evidence is in, it will show these officers do exactly what they are hired to do. They run to gunfire, not from it, place themselves in harm’s way and stop a threat. This is nothing short of heroic activity,” Kroll said. “It is our belief that body cameras will reveal what happened, that the officers were subjected to a threat. There were numerous commands to drop the firearm, the suspect did not comply with these commands.”
BCA investigators said they found a black and silver handgun at the scene, but James Lark, who claims he saw the entire encounter on Saturday night, said he never saw Blevins with a gun.
“On my mama … I didn’t see no gun. I didn’t see no gun. I didn’t see no gun. I didn’t see no gun,” Lark said.
One major piece of the puzzle is still missing. We do not know exactly what happened during the encounter that caused the officers to pull out their guns and shoot. Their body-worn cameras were on and rolling, providing video evidence that will prove to be crucial in this case.
Kroll also made it clear that the two officers involved will be allowed to watch their body camera footage before giving statements to the BCA. They are fully complying with the investigation, and are expected to be interviewed by BCA investigators on Monday or Tuesday.
The camera on the Minneapolis police squad car the two officers arrived at the scene in did not capture the shooting.