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Woodbury officer, deputy shoot armed auto theft suspect outside Target store, police say

Armed auto theft suspect shot by law enforcement outside Woodbury Target
Armed auto theft suspect shot by law enforcement outside Woodbury Target 01:21

WOODBURY, Minn. — Woodbury police say an officer and a sheriff's deputy shot an armed auto theft suspect Monday morning outside a Target store.

Officers were first called to the parking lot of Valley Creek Plaza shopping center, located off Valley Creek Drive just east of Interstate 494, on a report of an unoccupied vehicle with stolen license plates.

Police say while the officers were inspecting the vehicle, the suspect showed up and "fought officers when they attempted to arrest him."

The officers backed off the suspect, a man believed to be in his 50s, because police say he was armed with a handgun.


The suspect then barricaded himself in the vehicle. The Washington County Sheriff's Office's SWAT team was called to the scene,  along with the police department's embedded social worker. However, police say attempts to negotiate with him failed, as did the use of less-than-lethal weapons to get him to surrender.

The suspect exited the vehicle at about 10:30 a.m., according to police, who said he then pointed his handgun at law enforcement members.

Police said a Woodbury officer and a deputy opened fire, injuring the suspect, who was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. His condition hasn't been released.

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The officer and deputy have been placed on standard administrative leave.

Shoppers say they were taken by surprise when Target, and its parking lot, were put on lockdown.

"We just happened to come around and all of a sudden it was all taped off, and we were like, 'What's going on?'" said shopper Cathy Renstrom.

Woodbury Police

Jim Marts was inside Target when the incident went down. His truck remained trapped behind police tape while the BCA investigated. 

"I couldn't get back out. Then I was informed that there was an active gun guy here," Marts said. "Unexpected, but I'm glad the cops came here and I'm glad and I hope the guy lives and gets himself straightened out."

A Target spokesperson confirmed with WCCO that no guests or employees were hurt, and the store will remain closed on Monday while investigators are still at the scene.

Imran Ali, general counsel for the Minnesota Police and Peace Officer Association, said in a statement Monday that this shooting is "part of a disturbing trend of violence directed at law enforcement."

"It is crucial for leaders to condemn violence against law enforcement and stand in solidarity with officers who put their lives on the line to protect their communities," Ali said.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is leading the shooting investigation, while Woodbury police are investigating the initial crime.

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