A St. Paul police officer, suspect injured in a shooting

Published 5:17 pm Friday, December 8, 2023

ST. PAUL— A St. Paul police officer was shot in a leg and a suspect was critically injured in a shooting Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

It happened around 2 p.m., St. Paul Police Sgt. Mike Ernster said at a news conference Thursday night. The officer was treated at a hospital and released, while the suspect remained hospitalized in critical condition, Ernster said.

The shooting happened after a woman called 911 and said a man was following her in a vehicle, violating a protection order she had against him, Ernster said. The woman said the man was armed with a handgun and was intentionally running his vehicle into her vehicle, causing damage, Ernster said.

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“When our officer arrived in the area of this call, he confronted the man, and that man fired toward our officer with that handgun, striking him in the lower leg,” Ernster said. “Our officer returned fire, striking the man and critically injuring him.”

Another officer drove the injured officer to the hospital, and medics took the suspect to the hospital.

Police didn’t name the officer or the suspect.

Ernster said the officer was wearing an activated body camera, and that video will be given to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The agency will lead an investigation of the shooting, as it often does in such cases involving officers.

BCA spokeswoman Bonney Bowman said she could confirm that the agency’s Force Investigations Unit responded to the scene, but she said she won’t have more information to share until the preliminary investigation is complete.

A bureau fact sheet on the process says the goal is to complete the investigation within 60 days and forward the results to the county prosecutor for a charging decision. The process includes interviews with the officers involved; autopsies if an incident is fatal; reviews of body camera, squad camera and surveillance video; processing forensic evidence; and gathering of officer and departmental policy records.

Helicopter video from KMSP-TV after the shooting showed several squad cars near the intersection as well as a gray van with its driver door open near the pumps at a gas station.

Metro Transit said it detoured two bus routes around the area because of the police activity. The nearby University of St. Thomas advised students and staff to avoid the area but said the incident didn’t impact classes.