Minneapolis police officer dies in ambush shooting that killed 2 others including suspected gunman

Published 7:12 am Friday, May 31, 2024

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MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis police officer responding to a shooting call was ambushed and killed Thursday when he stopped to provide aid to a man who appeared to be a victim. That man instead wound up shooting the officer, authorities said.

The death of officer Jamal Mitchell happened during a chaotic situation involving two crime scenes two blocks apart that left three people dead, two others hospitalized in critical condition and another officer and a firefighter with less serious injuries.

“I’ve seen the video, and he was ambushed,” Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans said at an evening news conference. “I’m using the term for a reason.”

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said authorities are still investigating and asked people to “be patient with us as we do not know all the fact yet. We want to make sure that the investigation is completed and that we’re doing it the right way.”

Law enforcement provided a brief narrative of what transpired, starting when officers responded to a call of a double shooting at an apartment complex in the south Minneapolis neighborhood of Whittier.

As Mitchell was about two blocks from the complex, he noticed individuals who were injured. He got out of his car to provide aid to one man, who wound up shooting the officer.

Another officer arrived and exchanged gunfire with the shooter, who died despite life-saving efforts on the part of officers, Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Katie Blackwell said.

That officer had non-life-threatening wounds. Evans said another person, believed to be an innocent bystander, was shot and taken to a hospital in critical condition. The firefighter also was shot and injured.

When other officers went to the apartment, they found two people inside who had been shot. One was dead and the other was hospitalized in critical condition, Evans said.

Evans said he believed the shooting was isolated to the two locations and that the people in the apartment “had some level of acquaintance with each other.”

The connection between the two shooting scenes wasn’t immediately clear. Police had said the public was not in any danger.

The shooting comes three months after two officers and a firefighter-paramedic in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville were killed while responding to a domestic violence call. In that case, a man began shooting from a home while seven children were inside. A third officer was wounded before the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Minnesotans were feeling the trauma again of public safety officers dying when rushing to help people in need.

“That trauma quickly should turn to anger and a commitment that this cannot happen,” he said. “We do not have to live this way.”

Mitchell had been with the department about 18 months. He was a father who was engaged to be married. Police officers stood in a line outside Hennepin County Medical Center, where Mitchell was pronounced dead.

“The city of Minneapolis lost a hero in police officer Jamal Mitchell,” Frey said. “This officer gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect and save the lives of others. His life, his service and his name will forever be remembered in the city of Minneapolis.”

The Minneapolis Police Department posted on Facebook last year that Mitchell and another officer had rescued an elderly couple from a house fire.

On Feb. 7, 2023, Mitchell’s third day on the job, he and Officer Zachery Randall responded to a call and found a house on fire, the post said. The officers ran inside and got the couple out before the home was fully engulfed in flames and destroyed.

“Their quick actions … were truly heroic, as they prevented this fire from being even more tragic,” Chief Brian O’Hara said in the post.

“He was a wonderful human being,” Blackwell said. “He was exceptional in every way.”