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Domestic calls posing greater danger for law enforcement

Domestic calls commonly pose risks to police officers
Domestic calls commonly pose risks to police officers 02:36

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — The shooting in Burnsville that killed three first responders on Sunday is a tragic reminder of how quickly a domestic call can turn deadly.

RELATED: 2 officers, 1 paramedic killed in Burnsville, Minnesota

Burnsville is one of the smaller suburbs in the Twin Cities. And still, police respond to an average of 900 domestic calls each year.

As we've learned about this shooting, officers were on the ground for several hours before the gunfire erupted. 

RELATED: How to help the families of Burnsville police officers and paramedic killed in shooting

WCCO connected with many police departments and sheriff's offices Monday, and there's no question that domestic disturbances and domestic violence are among the most common calls for first responders, and typically they arrive just hoping to diffuse tensions.  

Extended: James Stewart discusses the dangers of being a police officer 05:17

But add in raw emotion, stress, alcohol and any number of other contributing factors, the unpredictability makes these calls as dangerous, if not more, than traffic stops.

WCCO spoke Monday with James Stuart, executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association.  

RELATED: Who were the officers and paramedic fatally shot in Burnsville?

"Anytime law enforcement responds to a domestic, they always want the best possible outcome," Stuart said. "In a situation like this where there's this potential for a standoff, there's potential for hostages and especially children, most of these law enforcement officers responding might have children at home and they value life, which is why they chose this as a profession."

FBI data shows of the more than 500 officers killed in the last decade across the United States, nearly 10% of them were responding to domestic disturbance or domestic violence calls.

RELATED: Burnsville shooting suspect identified as Shannon Gooden

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