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Search warrant: Minneapolis police snipers fatally shot Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg

Warrant: Minneapolis SWAT snipers shot Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg
Warrant: Minneapolis SWAT snipers shot Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg 02:16

MINNEAPOLIS -- Two Minneapolis police snipers shot 20-year-old Andrew "Tekle" Sundberg following a multi-hour standoff earlier this week on the city's south side, search documents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension show. 

The new documents filed Friday show that the snipers were posted on the roof of a building across the street from the third-floor apartment unit where Sundberg was holed up. The BCA, the top law enforcement agency in the state, is investigating the deadly use of police force. It still remains unclear what exactly prompted the officers to shoot. 

(credit: Sundberg family)

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

"The first loud bang that I heard, I didn't know it was a gunshot," she told WCCO-TV.

Moments later, a second bullet tore through her kitchen wall, and she grabbed her two young sons and hid in the bedroom, where she called police. Not long after, she ran to let officers into the building and told them to save her children. 

"I thought, 'We're not going to make it, we're not going to make it,'" Yarbrough said. 

After police got Yarbrough's sons out of her apartment, Sundberg isolated himself inside his unit, and officers spent hours trying to negotiate with him. Around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, the two snipers shot Sundberg, fatally wounding him. He died at Hennepin Healthcare.

According to the search warrants, BCA investigators recovered a pistol with an extended magazine and several bullet casing from Sundberg's apartment. Also recovered was a bullet fragment from a neighboring apartment unit. 

Investigators also collected the snipers' rifles and two bullet casings, as well as several less-than-lethal rounds, although it's yet unclear when or if those were fired.

The officers who fatally shot Sundberg were identified as Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine, members of the SWAT team. 

Sandberg's death was the second fatal encounter involving Minneapolis police this year. The first was the shooting of Amir Locke on Feb. 2, when a SWAT team executing an early morning no-knock warrant shot the 22-year-old as he stirred on a couch, holding a gun.

Both Pearson and Seraphine were part of the team that raided the downtown apartment. Pearson's body camera captured the shooting, and Seraphine, a medic, provided care to Locke before he died. 

No officers were charged in Locke's death, as prosecutors determined the shooting was justified. 

Yet, the Minneapolis Police Department has been under scrutiny for years following accusations of brutality and racism. The murder of George Floyd in May of 2020 led to nationwide protests and both state and federal investigations into the department. 

Earlier this year, an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found that the department engaged in a pattern of race-based discrimination over the last decade. 

On Thursday night, friends and family held a vigil to remember Sundberg outside the apartment where he died. In a statement, his family said Sundberg struggled with his mental health.

"While we have received very little information thus far, by all accounts, it sounds like our Tekle was suffering from a mental health crisis. We send our deepest sympathies to anyone in his building impacted by his crisis, and we thank the community members who have come forward in loving memory of Tekle," the family's statement said. 

Attorneys Ben Crump and Jeff Storm are representing Sundberg's family. The civil rights attorneys also represented the family of George Floyd, having won a record $27 million wrongful death settlement with city of Minneapolis in that case.

The attorney said that Sundberg's 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. 

"No information has been provided as to why Tekle, who officers had isolated for hours, suddenly needed to be executed," the attorneys said. "We call on the Minneapolis Police Department to immediately provide the family with the video evidence and other information necessary to answer this question." 

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