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Officials release bodycam footage of Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg's fatal encounter with police

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Bodycam footage gives incomplete account of Tekle Sundberg’s death
Bodycam footage gives incomplete account of Tekle Sundberg’s death 02:19

MINNEAPOLIS -- Authorities have released body camera footage of the fatal police shooting of a man during a standoff in a south Minneapolis apartment last week.

Search warrants show two Minneapolis Police Department snipers shot 20-year-old Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg after a six-hour-plus standoff that began Wednesday night and stretched into Thursday morning.

The footage, released Wednesday afternoon, shows officers under fire. But their body cameras failed to capture Sundberg's last moments.

tekle-sundberg.jpg
Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg (credit: Sundberg family)

According to investigators, Sundberg fired multiple rounds inside the Seward neighborhood apartment building Wednesday night, and a neighbor, Arabella Yarbrough, called 911 saying a bullet went through her wall.  

Yarbrough and her sons made it out of the apartment building, and police said they spent hours negotiating with Sundberg. Around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, the two snipers shot Sundberg, fatally wounding him. He died at Hennepin Healthcare.

Police showed reporters the 15-minute video Wednesday, a compilation of about 100 hours of body-worn police camera footage.

Four minutes after an officer arrives on scene, you hear three gunshots fired through an apartment door.

"Police Department. Ugh! Shots fired! Shots fired! Shooting through the door!" said an officer.

Minutes later, police are able to get Yarbrough and her children out of their apartment safely.

"Come here! Come here! We've got kids coming out too!" an officer said.

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City of Minneapolis

Yarbrough talked about the ordeal with WCCO on Friday.

"I got pictures too that it went through my bedroom. So me and my kids were in the bedroom at the time and I was on the floor," said Yarbrough.

For several hours, police attempted to talk Sundberg into coming out peacefully. At times, he can be seen leaning outside of his apartment, holding a cellphone.

"Mr. Sundberg, we need you to come outside and cooperate with us. We don't want to hurt you, we just want to go home," said an officer. "He is threatening to shoot the officers and he's breaking out some of his windows."

A neighbor shared video with WCCO last week of Sundberg's final moments. He's seen breaking out a window, and witnesses think he has something in his hand.

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City of Minneapolis

The end of the police video shows SWAT team officers Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine positioned on a rooftop across the street. Both officers are heard saying "gun" before one of them fires two rounds.

In Wednesday's press conference, Howie Padilla, MPD's director of public information, said the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is leading the investigation, is in need of footage that clearly shows the moment Sundberg was fatally shot.

"We have not identified the video that shows the clearest images of what had happened at that time. We know that there is video out there, that residents, media members have. We ask that they share those with the BCA," Padilla said.

Search warrants say BCA investigators recovered a pistol with an extended magazine and several bullet casing from Sundberg's apartment.

Pearson and Seraphine were also present when police killed Amir Locke inside a downtown Minneapolis apartment on Feb. 2.  

Sundberg's family said he struggled with his mental health. Their attorneys also said the family rejects the narrative that the police department's efforts were done in collaboration with relatives, adding that what exactly led up to the fatal shooting remains unclear. 

Their lawyers gave this statement to WCCO Wednesday evening: "Tekle's parents continue to send their deepest sympathies to all of those impacted by Tekle's mental health crisis. We all recognize what a harrowing experience this was for many."

Mayor Jacob Frey and Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman spoke briefly with the press Wednesday before showing the body-camera video. They didn't answer questions about the circumstances that led up to Sundberg's death, citing the ongoing BCA investigation. During the conference, Frey and Huffman both said: "This is not the outcome that anyone wanted."

"We offer our condolences to Mr. Sundberg's family and friends for their loss," Huffman said.

Huffman says Sundberg's family viewed the footage before it was released to the public. She also said officers worked toward a peaceful resolution, and she thanked them for their service and bravery under fire.

[Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said more gunshots were heard coming from the apartment at the moment Sundberg was killed by police.]

 

Body camera footage gives incomplete account of deadly standoff

The 15-minute video, a compilation of about 100 hours of body-worn police camera footage, begins with officers standing in apartment hallway around 10 p.m. An officer knocks on a hallway door multiple times. Shots are then fired through the wall near the door.

Officers then retreat down hallway stairs and call for back-up. A nervous cat is seen walking up and down the stairs as more officers enter the stairwell. One of the officers repeatedly yells "Police!"

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City of Minneapolis

Seconds later, a frightened young woman opens the hallway door, and two young children exit an apartment and are ushered out by officers.

That video ends, and text appears on screen that states the MPD's crisis negotiation team was requested and responded to the scene at 10:07 p.m. Sundberg's parents arrived at 12:30 a.m.

The next body-cam video begins at 4:15 a.m. Sundberg is seen hanging out his window, apparently talking on a cellphone, as officers and SWAT team members are gathered below.

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City of Minneapolis

An officer repeatedly asks Sundberg to come out of his apartment with his hands up, and that he is under arrest.

"We want to give you the help you need," said the officer.

The officer's hand obscures the body camera several times in this clip. At one point, Sundberg apparently asks who's talking with him, and the officer replies "Minneapolis Police."

The sound of glass breaking is then heard. The camera is obscured again by the officer, and when his hand moves, Sundberg has moved back into the apartment and is out of view. More shots are then fired.

That video ends, and text appears on screen stating that the next body-camera clip is from an officer positioned with another officer on a rooftop across the street from Sundberg's apartment. The clip begins at 4:17 a.m. A sniper rifle is in the camera's view, and two officers can be heard speaking.

One of them says "That may be a gun." Seconds later, the other officer says "Gun." The sniper rifle in view then fires two rounds.

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City of Minneapolis

That video ends, and text appears on screen stating that the next clip is from an officer on the ground across from the apartment building at 4:18 a.m. In the footage, you can hear two rounds being fired.

The compilation video ends. Howie Padilla, the Minneapolis Police Department's director of public information, then takes the podium to address the media. He states that the BCA is in need of footage that clearly shows the moment Sundberg was fatally shot.

"We have not identified the video that shows the clearest images of what had happened at that time. We know that there is video out there, that residents, media members have. We ask that they share those with the BCA," Padilla said.

By WCCO Staff
 

"This is not the outcome that anyone wanted"

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Interim Chief Amelia Huffman spoke briefly with the press Wednesday afternoon before showing a 15-minute video of body-worn camera footage involving the fatal shooting of  Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg by police last week.

In regards to Sundberg's fatal shooting by a police sniper, both Frey and Huffman gave the same statement: "This is not the outcome that anyone wanted."

tekle-sundberg.jpg
Tekle Sundberg (credit: Sundberg family)


"We offer our condolences to Mr. Sundberg's family and friends for their loss," Huffman said.

Huffman says Sundberg's family viewed the footage before it was released to the public.

Frey and Huffman were unable to answer several questions from the press, citing restrictions due to the active investigation being led by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

By WCCO Staff
 

Officials tell the media they're running behind schedule

City officials in Minneapolis had planned to hold a 2:30 p.m. news conference releasing the bodycam footage in the fatal shooting of Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg. 

However, moments after the news conference was slated to start, officials told the gathered media that they are running late. 

By WCCO Staff
 

Search warrants say 2 MPD snipers shot Sundberg

According to investigators, Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg fired multiple gunshots inside a Seward neighborhood apartment building the night of July 13, and a neighbor, Arabella Yarbrough, called 911 saying a bullet went through her wall.  

Yarbrough and her sons made it out of the apartment building, and police said officers spent hours negotiating with Sundberg. Around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, the two snipers shot Sundberg, fatally wounding him. He died at Hennepin Healthcare.

Search warrants say Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators recovered a pistol with an extended magazine and several bullet casing from Sundberg's apartment. The BCA is investigating the latest police killing in Minneapolis.

The officers who fatally shot Sundberg were identified as Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine, members of the SWAT team who were also present when police killed Amir Locke inside a downtown Minneapolis apartment on Feb. 2. 

Sundberg's family said he struggled with his mental health. Their attorneys also said the family rejects the narrative that the police department's efforts were done in collaboration with relatives, adding that what exactly led up to the fatal shooting remains unclear. 

By WCCO Staff
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