MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tensions continue to rise in the aftermath of a police shooting in north Minneapolis Saturday night.
Police say officers shot and killed a man after two 911 callers said he was shooting a gun into the air and the ground just before 5:30 p.m. near the 4700 block of Bryant Avenue North.
Officers arrived at the scene and a foot pursuit started, which ended with shots being fired.
Family members have identified the victim as 31-year-old Thurman Blevins. Some witnesses have disputed that he had a gun. Minneapolis police say the officers involved were wearing body cameras and they were activated.
Community members gathered Sunday outside of the Minneapolis Police Fourth Precinct building on Plymouth Avenue North, demanding more answers from police about what happened.
Blevins’ brother, Emanuel Moore, spoke to protesters Sunday afternoon.
“We just want to let you know we appreciate everything you are doing today. And we want to know what exactly happened. We all make bad decisions, but we deserve to go out in dignity,” Moore said.
Neighbors who live just feet from where the shooting happened told WCCO-TV what they witnessed.
“I saw the [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] van there, and then there was a cop parked there, cops parked there,” Ottilia Abebrese said. “I went on the sun porch and there was just like lights everywhere.”
Abebrese and Nicholas Mason live two houses away from where the officer-involved shooting happened. They did not see the confrontation, but their backyard security camera was rolling. It captured what appears to be people running on the other side of their fence.
“You can see on our security cameras him go running by, and then the cop running by. Don’t know if he was armed or not,” Abebrese said.
Blevins died just in front of Robert Lang’s garage.
“I just finished cutting grass and put the lawnmower away, and saw some police cars go by pretty fast, no lights or sirens,” Lang said.
Lang said that is when heard commotion coming from down the alley.
“I heard the police repeatedly say ‘drop the gun’ probably three or four times. ‘Drop the gun.’ And when I heard that I decided not to come around the corner because I figured something wasn’t good,” Lang said.
Seconds later, he said he heard multiple gunshots.
“When the shots [stopped], then … I came around the corner,” Lang said.
He said he saw Blevins lying on his back in a pool of blood.
“Police hadn’t even come up to him yet, and probably about a foot and a half from him on his right-hand side was a firearm,” Lang said. “Then a police officer came up and kicked the gun away, said ‘clear,’ and then when he saw me he told me to go back in the yard, which I did.”
Other witnesses have said that Blevins did not have a gun on him at the time.
The BCA continues to investigate, and they will review body camera video from officers as well. The officers themselves have not yet been identified.
A vigil is planned for 7:30 Saturday night at Camden and 49th Avenues, near the scene of the shooting.