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Chief: MPD Officer Fatally Shoots Man Holding Handgun At Downtown Apt. Building

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis police say an officer shot and killed a man holding a handgun while executing a search warrant at a downtown apartment building Wednesday morning.

While officials have yet to release the man's name, community leaders say the person killed was Amir Locke, a Black man. Relatives posted to social media saying he was licensed to carry a gun.

Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman said during a late morning press conference that the shooting happened as department's SWAT team was assisting the St. Paul Police Department's homicide unit at the time. Huffman said it was part of an ongoing murder investigation.

Huffman said the SWAT team entered the Bolero Flats apartment building at 11th Street and Marquette Avenue just before 7 a.m. The officers "loudly and repeatedly" announced their entry into an apartment, Huffman said.

Downtown Minneapolis police shooting
(credit: CBS)

"Approximately nine seconds into the entry, officers encountered a male who was armed with a handgun pointed in the direction of officers. At one point, shots were fired, and the adult male suspect was struck. Officers immediately provided emergency aid and carried the suspect down to the lobby to meet paramedics," police said in an afternoon release.

The incident reports says the man was shot twice in the chest and once in the wrist. City documents name Mark Hanneman as the officer who fired the shots. The victim was taken to Hennepin Healthcare, where he was pronounced dead.

Huffman said a handgun was recovered from the apartment, loaded with 5.7 mm rounds. Police released a couple images of the handgun they say was brandished by the suspect.

Gun downtown shooting Minneapolis
(credit: Minneapolis police)

"Any officer-involved shooting is a tragic incident," Huffman said. "This is the call that no police chief wants to receive."

Also at the press conference was Mayor Jacob Frey.

"Let's start with the reality that any loss of life is tragic. And that's where we're keeping our thoughts front and center as we work alongside our community partners, and as the investigation gets underway," Frey said.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the police shooting, while St. Paul's homicide investigation remains ongoing.

Police say officers were wearing body worn cameras, which Huffman has reviewed. It's unclear on when that footage will be released.

According to the mayor's office, the city is working to ensure the man's family has reviewed the body-camera footage before it's released to the public.

"[Frey] is working with the MPD and BCA to ensure that the footage is released as quickly as possible without compromising the BCA's ability to collect evidence and overall integrity of the investigation," a statement from the mayor's office said.

Neighbor Keri Coquemont says she didn't hear the deadly confrontation Wednesday morning, despite being on the same floor.

"I feel very anxious. More anxious about why something of such magnitude, and I'm on the same floor and I didn't hear anything," Coquemont said. "I heard nothing. No gunshots, no police announcing [themselves], no police sirens."

As of this past weekend, the apartment where this happened had no next-door neighbor. Susan Larson says she moved out Saturday because of safety issues in the building, and people who visited that apartment.

"I probably called 911 no fewer than 10, 11, 12 times," Larson said. "I didn't feel safe. I was scared out of my mind."

Larson says a Minneapolis police sergeant told her there have been at least 20 calls to the apartment.

"If I were there this morning I don't know what I would've done," Larson said.

Civil rights lawyer and activist Nekima Levy Armstrong shared on social media that Huffman notified her of the shooting.

"Right now, there are a lot more questions than answers," Levy Armstrong said.

A press conference and vigil were held Wednesday evening outside the apartment building. Words of prayer filled the frigid air, not long after words of anguish did the same.

"They decided if a Black man got to live or die in nine seconds," said activist DJ Hooker.

Others were shocked that police fired shots in an apartment building that could have had neighbors in the units nearby.

"Why did they have to endanger every single person in this apartment building? Somebody could have been out in the hallway, somebody could have got shot above," said activist and artist Toussaint Morrison.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota called on the MPD for "full transparency" and for the department to release body-camera footage and to release the names of all officers involved.

Police haven't confirmed the victim's name, but family members of his have posted on social media that he was licensed to carry, and they say the warrant wasn't for him. None of that has been confirmed by police.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office is expected to release the identity of the deceased, as well as his manner and cause of death.

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