MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A community is outraged after a Minneapolis police officer fatally shot a 31-year-old black man over the weekend on the city’s north side.
On Saturday night, police responded to 911 calls of a man firing a handgun near 46th and Lyndale avenues. The Minnesota BCA says when officers arrived, they saw Thurman Blevins with a gun.
Officers shot him as he tried to run away.
At a Sunday night vigil near the scene of the shooting, community members expressed their distrust with the police department.
Some vigil-goers said Blevins did not have a gun.
However, a witness who lives in the home closest to where the shooting happened says he not only saw a gun, but heard officers command Blevins to drop the weapon.
The autopsy report says Blevins died of multiple gunshot wounds.
On Monday, Mayor Jacob Frey again backed police accounts that Blevins had a weapon.
“The BCA, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, has reported that the individual who was shot was armed,” he said.
Two and a half months ago, Frey announced new tougher requirements for officers to have body cameras turned on.
When asked if he could comment on the body camera video of the Blevins shooting, he said: “I cannot.”
“This is a tragic situation,” he added. “I am glad, however, that both body cameras for both officers were turned on and activated.”
The BCA and Minneapolis Police say at least one 911 caller Saturday night reported a man firing a gun into the air at the scene.
Robert Lang, whose garage backs up to the alley where the shooting happened, said he heard officers repeatedly say, “Drop the gun.”
“When the shots stopped, then I came around the corner, police hadn’t even come up to him yet, probably a foot and a half from him on his right hand side was a firearm,” Lang said.
Court records show Blevins has six felony convictions including one for assaulting a police officer, two convictions for fleeing officers, illegal possession of a firearm and two convictions for controlled substances.
As a convicted felon, it would have been illegal for Blevins to carry a firearm.
Frey says he has asked the BCA to release information as quickly as possible.
The BCA declined to comment Monday, as did the Minneapolis Police Department.
At a news conference Sunday night, the president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, Lt. Bob Kroll, said he is confident that the body camera video will show the shooting was justified.