[UPDATE – June 23, 2020: Minneapolis Police have updated their reporting on the Uptown incident, and have said that Cody Pollard was actually shot and killed near 7th Street and First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. What follows is the story as it originally ran.]
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Minneapolis police are investigating after a shooting in the Uptown area left one person dead and 11 others injured early Sunday morning — one of several reported shootings in the city in just a matter of hours.
The shooting broke out shortly after midnight in the city’s trendy Uptown neighborhood, a nightlife hub with bars, restaurants and retail including Apple and Fjallraven stores.
Community activist KG Wilson livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook, showing crowds of people and police responding to the injured.
“I don’t know if they breathing or not right now,” Wilson said in the video.
Police first said 10 people had been shot with “various severity levels of injuries,” but revised their total to 12 in a tweet posted just after 3 a.m.
One of the victims, Cody Pollard, later died at the hospital. WCCO spoke with his sister, LaToya Pollard, who said he was a father of two and worked as a barber. She says their family is broken, and is asking for prayers.
None of the other 11 who were shot, who are all adults, have injuries considered life-threatening.
Police said have a lot of leads, but no arrests so far. They believe there was more than one shooter, described only as “individuals on foot.”
At a press conference Sunday morning, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called the shooting “tragic and senseless.”
“We have seen, unfortunately over the past several months, an uptick in violent crime in Minneapolis,” Arradondo said. “We are certainly doing our best to address that.”
Arradondo says the amount of violence is a public health crisis, and it will take more than just police to address it.
“We’re going to need all stakeholders to step up and be a part of the discussions for solutions,” he said.
Arradondo says despite the senselessness of the shooting, “humanity” was observed at the scene.
“We saw officers and community members rushing in to aid victims, to assist EMS personnel,” Arradondo said. “We saw humanity last night and that truly inspires me. And it says that hope is in this city and will remain in this city. And we have to build on that.”
Mayor Jacob Frey released this statement late Sunday afternoon:
Violence and lawlessness serve no one. The recent string of shootings across our city is only compounding our shared grief. It cannot and will not be tolerated. Chief Arradondo is reaching out to local, state, and federal partners for aid and MPD detectives are working to identify those responsible. Chief Arradondo has my full support.
Fred Hwang, a manager at Hoban Korean BBQ, said he was working the front door when he heard shots from the sidewalk a couple of storefronts down. Hwang described hearing “a lot of shots” and said it appeared to be groups of people shooting at each other.
“It was definitely more than two people involved. It was definitely like a gun fight, a gun shootout,” Hwang said. “We found bullet shells from three different guns.”
Across the street from where the shooting began, in a storefront shared by the Uptown Theater and a John Fluevog Shoes store, a police officer later Sunday surveyed a shattered window and door and a bullet hole could be seen in the storefront.
The Uptown area is about 3 miles west of the Minneapolis commercial area and neighborhood hit by rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death after being arrested by Minneapolis police. Some of the violence from that period reached as far as Uptown, and many storefronts are still protected by plywood.
Jamie Liestman is the manager of John Fluevog Shoes. She and her employees spent Sunday morning cleaning up the mess.
“There’s bullet holes in my store and this window is broken,” Liestman said. “It’s super frustrating. We just got these windows replaced after the riot.”
Those who work in the area say there’s been a rise in late night violence.
“This has nothing to do with George Floyd or the protests. This has to do with violence and guns in Uptown that’s been ignored for years,” Liestman said.
Liestman wants to see more protection for her store and the others in the popular business district.
“If we had better security, at least a police presence, I think that would be helpful,” Liestman said.
Floyd’s death has sparked a move to overhaul the Minneapolis Police Department, with a majority of City Council members pledging support for dismantling a department that many community activists have called brutal and racist. That’s prompted pushback from opponents who question how residents will be protected from violent crime. Even the most aggressive proponents for change have acknowledged it’s many months away and they’re not sure what it will look like.
Hwang was critical of the police response time, estimating it took officers more than 30 minutes to arrive. However, police spokesman John Elder told The Associated Press that police converged on the area within three minutes of a 12:38 a.m. call being put out by officers stating that they had heard shots in the area.
“Something needs to be done to protect us,” Hwang said. “Normally the bars on Saturday night, we all have off-duty police officers as extra security parked in front of our businesses. But no one has that right now because police are a liability for us.”
Minneapolis Police responded to six shootings between Saturday afternoon and Sunday night with at least seven other people injured and one dead, including:
- A woman was shot after an argument on the 1100 block of Olson Memorial Highway around 9:30 p.m. Saturday
- A man was critically wounded in shooting near the Minneapolis Police Fourth Precinct building, incident happened shortly after 3:30 a.m. Sunday
- Two men arrived at North Memorial Healthcare hospital with non-life threatening injuries at 3:42 a.m. Sunday
- A 17-year-old boy was shot inside a car, then left for dead by fellow passengers on a north Minneapolis street. He was pronounced dead at North Memorial.
No arrests have been made in these investigations. Over the last month, several Minneapolis City Council members have called to abolish and defund the police department. Council President Lisa Bender released a statement to WCCO Sunday about the violence, saying in part, “Ultimately, no one in our community should fear or suffer violence, and it is clear that we need to continue to invest in systems that work to keep people safe.”
Anyone with information in the Uptown shooting is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. Tips can be submitted electronically.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)