MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Hostile crowds gathered in downtown Minneapolis late Wednesday night after police say a man wanted in connection with a homicide killed himself as officers approached him on Nicollet Mall.
An immediate curfew was instituted at about 9:30 p.m. by Mayor Jacob Frey, and about 90 minutes later Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency and deployed the Minnesota National Guard.
This move comes about three months after Gov. Walz's historic mobilization of more that 5,000 guards members to assist during the unrest that immediately followed the death of George Floyd in late May.
At Walz's direction, the Minnesota State Patrol sent 150 troopers to help with dispersing crowds, preventing looting and making arrests.
The unrest was rooted in a homicide, which police say is the 52nd of the year, that happened just after 2 p.m. inside Ramp A off 10th Street North and Currie Avenue West. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office says the victim, 61-year-old Eddie George Gordon of Rush City, died from gunshot wounds to the head and neck.
Police believe three people in total were involved in a dispute in the garage prior to the shooting. A man and a woman fled the scene, and the woman was later taken into custody.
The male suspect was later tracked down by police just after 6 p.m. on the 800 block of Nicollet Mall. Police released surveillance video that shows the man shooting himself and falling to the sidewalk just seconds before officers reached him.
A large crowd began to gather near the scene within the hour, and some began to break windows at nearby businesses.
WCCO's Jeff Wagner says people rushed into the Target store at the corner of 9th Street and Nicollet Mall to loot it, but police quickly rushed in to control the crowd. The store closed up soon after.
Crowds then shattered glass at businesses along and near Nicollet Mall, including IDS Center, Nordstrom Rack, Foot Locker, Haskell's Wine and Spirits, Brit's Pub, The Newsroom, Devil's Advocate, Walgreens, CVS, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Dahl Medical Supply and Caribou Coffee, among several others. By 9 p.m., the looting spread to a couple blocks south of Nicollet Mall at a strip mall off of LaSalle and Grant streets, and there were reports of smash-and-grabs spreading west to Hennepin Avenue.
Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson addressed the media just after 9 p.m., where he said false rumors spread on social media are making "us look bad again."
"We're going to do what we can do to maintain some order and regain some public trust, public safety in the city and the county. If you hurt people and break things ... you're going to go to jail," Hutchinson said. "This is a metro-wide response to a bunch of people who don't get information right and they just want to riot and loot for their own personal good."
Metro Transit announced the suspension of all buses and light rail trains in the area for the near future.
One of the first reported cases of arson during this unrest was at Brit's Pub off of 12th Street and Nicollet Mall, just kitty-corner from WCCO Studios.
It started just before 11:30 p.m., and was extinguished by Minneapolis firefighters about 15 minutes later.
Looters also targeted a medical supply store down the block from Brit's, but were apprehended by officers on bicycles.
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