MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mario Benjamin has been identified as the victim following an officer-involved shooting in North Minneapolis early Friday morning. WCCO interviewed the family of the woman Benjamin allegedly shot before police killed him. Her family says Benjamin was her long-time boyfriend. The shooting happened after a confrontation with police officers.
Police responded to two separate Shot Spotter notifications at about 2:50 a.m. Friday. They arrived at the 2400 block of Emerson Avenue North.
A woman had been shot, authorities said, and was taken to North Memorial Health Hospital with what is believed is non-life threatening injuries.
Police say they were involved in a confrontation with a man who had a gun. Police said during the confrontation, shots were fired. Officers performed CPR on the man, but he died at the scene.
“We stay at the corner house. We were the ones that actually woke up to the scene,” neighbor Juntell Gunn said.
Gunn lives on the street where the shooting happened. Before police arrived, she said she heard gunfire.
“I heard a shooting and then I heard her screaming. And then I heard her being told to be quiet, and that’s when the guys came,” Gunn said.
The officers’ body cameras were on and activated. No officers were injured in the incident.
Police say is there were children there who saw the argument turn violent.
“When we arrived those children were there as the scene unfolded,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said. “They did not suffer any injuries related to this incident, and that they are in the hands of a guardian at this time, and they are safe.”
Police used crime scene tape to set up a perimeter. Hours after the incident, concerned parents dropped their kids off at a nearby Agape Child Development Center.
“Just waking up and seeing all this, I was like, ‘Wow, what’s going on here?’ And then I walked in and he was just telling me a man and a woman got shot,” Travis Trotter said.
Trotter has three kids that go to the daycare. He said he feels safe bringing them there, but he’s concerned about what’s happening just up the block.
“We just need to get ourselves together on the north side of Minneapolis,” Trotter said. This should not be going on especially in front of the school where children are coming. A bullet could have gone up in to the school and killed somebody.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is taking the lead in the investigation.
Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief Arradondo held a press conference early Friday afternoon to discuss the incident and efforts to build trust in the community.
“I know that none of these incidents happen in a vacuum, they stand in generations of historical trauma. This must be acknowledged by leadership because those in the community cannot escape it. It is a lived reality every single day. It’s on us to keep the family, the community, our police officers and all those involved centered in these conversations,” Frey said.
Frey added, “Please know that we will be pressing the BCA to moved their investigation as quickly as possible and to provide the public with information as quickly as possible.”
Mayor Frey says he understands if there are ill feelings in the community about the shooting and says it should be at the forefront of conversations when talking about this incident.
“My message to community is: I’m with you. And as I said before, it doesn’t happen in isolation. This needs to be considered in a greater context in the totality where we have a lot of community members that are suffering and experiencing a whole lot of trauma that needs to be recognized that needs to be acknowledged by our elected officials.”
Arradondo says this incident is a call, as a chief, that he never wants to receive.
“This is a tragedy on so many levels, and today many lives are impacted,” Arradondo said.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, gave this statement to WCCO:
“Officers responded to a shot spotter activation, upgraded to shots fired, and then a shooting. They arrived and found the suspect standing over the victim he just shot. The suspect was still armed and bystanders were fleeing the area. The suspect gave the officers no other option to defend themselves, the shooting victim, and innocent bystanders from further harm and were forced to fire at the suspect. The Federation is confident that after a thorough investigation the officers actions will be legally justified. In fact, neutralizing the threat saved the lives of others.”
The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, as is standard operating procedure.