MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Officials in Cottage Grove say a man is dead after a series of crimes that include sexual assault, stealing vehicles and invading a home Monday morning.
According to Maplewood police, the incident started around 8 a.m. when a man with a gun confronted a woman who was walking into her workplace in Maplewood. Police say he forced the victim into her car and told her to drive 6 miles to her home in St. Paul. That’s where he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Police say he then stole her vehicle and drove to Cottage Grove’s Hidden Valley neighborhood. At around 8:30 a.m., the suspect used a handgun to steal a second vehicle from a residence.
At around 9 a.m. the suspect entered a residence in the same neighborhood, with four family members inside, Cottage Grove Director of Public Safety Pete Koerner said.
WCCO’s Erin Hassanzadeh spoke with a woman who says it was her family that was in that house. She wasn’t at home at the time.
“A gunman came into our house, barged right in, and went into our living room where my mom was, pointed a gun at her face and said, ‘Do you have any guns in the house?’ What’s going on?” Ally Patterson explained. “They were screaming that there were no guns and nothing is here. He said he didn’t want to harm anybody, he wanted to kill himself and just needed space to think.”
Patterson says the suspect pointed his gun at her parents’ heads multiple times before moving into their garage. That’s when her family made their escape to the neighbor’s house.
“He eventually came out in my dad’s truck from the garage and crashed the truck into a tree in my neighbor’s yard,” Patterson said.
Officials say the suspect, armed, then fled on foot before he eventually encountered police from several agencies. According to Koerner, a Cottage Grove officer and an officer from a neighboring agency fired their service weapons, killing the man.
Authorities strongly believe residents are no longer in danger, and believe there was only one suspect.
The female victim in the initial incident, who was bound by the suspect, was able to get free and contact police.
The name of the suspect has not been released. The Minnesota BCA is investigating the shooting.