MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 21-year-old man is in custody after Albert Lea police say he shot three men Sunday, including a police officer, leading to an eight-hour standoff.
Officers were first called to the Shady Oaks apartment complex on the 800 block of 4th Avenue South at about 2:18 a.m. after they received a report that fireworks or gunshots had been heard.
When they arrived, police say a shooter ambushed the officers by firing several rounds down from the third floor of the apartment complex to the parking lot. One of the officers was shot in the chest, while several rounds struck a squad car. The officer who was shot was wearing a bulletproof vest. They were able to relocate to a safe area and assess their injuries before going to an Albert Lea hospital. They were treated and released later Sunday.
The two other shooting victims were a 52-year-old man — who was flown to the St. Mary’s Campus of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester — and a 38-year-old man. They are both expected to recover.
The suspect — who was later identified by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as Devin Weiland of Albert Lea — eventually surrendered at about 11 a.m. He suffered non-life threatening shrapnel injuries, but it is unknown how or when he was hurt. He was taken to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He has not been charged as of Monday morning.
The BCA is leading the investigation. The agency says bodily remains were found in the apartment building by a tactical team Sunday, but the death is not related to the standoff. The remains were brought to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office. Albert Lea police are leading that investigation.
Rona Gstalders maneuvered around crime scene tape to show WCCO where a stray bullet made its way through her garage and into her living room wall.
“I was petrified,” Gstalders said.
That bullet was one of several shots that police say the shooter fired from inside the apartment building during the standoff.
“[The bullet] felt like an explosion, and I knew something had been hit, but I didn’t dare come out with an active shooter still out,” Gstalders said.
There was a shelter-in-place order in effect in the area for several hours. Apartment residents were evacuated overnight, but most had returned to their apartments by Sunday night. Some other residents are staying in hotels. Nate Harris was one of the neighborhood residents who stayed inside.
“Locked all the doors of course, and pretty much shut all the blinds I had and just kind of stayed put and let it unfold,” Harris said.
Griselda Rentera also took shelter with her two sons and dog. She said crime in the area is getting worse.
“I’ve been living here for three years and I’ve seen way more things that are going around,” Rentera said.
Gov. Tim Walz took to Twitter Sunday to offer his thoughts and prayers to those who were hurt in the shooting.
“Thank you to the law enforcement officers, including both local teams and our State Patrol troopers and BCA agents, who worked to keep Albert Lea residents safe from further harm,” Walz said. “This situation could have been significantly worse, but the suspect is now in custody.”
A Minnesota State Patrol trooper fired their weapon at one point during the standoff. They are on standard administrative leave as a result.
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