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Man shot, killed by Minneapolis police identified

2 officers fired rifles after hours-long standoff, officials said.

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People light candles during a vigil for 20-year old Andrew Tekle Sundberg on Thursday, July 14, 2022, outside the apartment building where he was killed by Minneapolis police.
Aaron Lavinsky / Star Tribune / TNS
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis police officers shot and killed a man early Thursday after an overnight standoff that began after reports that he had fired shots inside an apartment building on the city's South Side, according to city and state officials.

The Minneapolis Police Department identified the man as Andrew Tekle Sundberg, 20, a resident of the building. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died.

"This is not the outcome we had hoped for or desired," Minneapolis officer Garrett Parten, a department spokesman, said during a media briefing.

Two Minneapolis officers fired their rifles, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is leading the investigation. The agency did not say whether one or both officers fatally wounded Sundberg. The city identified the officers involved as Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine.

"BCA investigators recovered a firearm at the scene," a statement from the agency said.

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The agency said it is attempting to determine whether any officers' body-worn cameras captured the event.

Several dozen people gathered outside the apartment Thursday evening for a vigil after officers removed the last of the police tape that surrounded it. Many held candles and some brought flowers. Family members and friends were in attendance, along with some neighbors who said they only knew Sundberg in passing.

"It's raw for a lot of us still," Loretta VanPelt of Minneapolis said at the vigil. "Six months ago we lost Amir Locke. It's almost like MPD does not want to give us any kind of peace."

Minneapolis police have been involved in at least 37 fatal encounters since 2000, according to a Star Tribune database.

Thursday's death was the second known fatal encounter involving Minneapolis police this year following Locke's shooting on Feb. 2. The department and its officers have been the subject of intense public scrutiny surrounding fatal interactions with members of the public following the killing of George Floyd in police custody in May 2020.

Pearson, an eight-year veteran of the force, was a member of the SWAT team that killed Locke in the predawn raid. Pearson used a key to enter the downtown Minneapolis apartment unit, where the 22-year-old Locke stirred beneath a blanket on the couch and reached for a handgun. Officer Mark Hanneman fatally shot Locke within 10 seconds — an encounter captured on Pearson's body camera.

As SWAT team medic, Seraphine provided medical care to Locke on the scene, according to reports released by the BCA.

Internal discipline records obtained by Communities United Against Police Brutality show that Pearson has been the subject of 11 internal affairs and civilian review complaints since 2015, nearly all of which have been closed without discipline. Only one complaint from last year remains open. Seraphine was the subject of three complaints that were all closed without discipline.

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The events leading up to Sundberg's death began to unfold about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when police were called about shots fired from inside an apartment building on S. 21st Avenue, near Cedar and Franklin avenues in the Seward neighborhood.

A woman who lives in an apartment next to where the man was hiding, told police that bullets came through the wall of her third-floor unit. Officers arrived and heard more shots being fired and debris exploding from the wall, Parten said. Police removed the woman and two children who were with her. Others in the building also were moved to safety, and some in nearby homes were evacuated, Parten said.

Several nearby streets were shut down during the six hours that law enforcement attempted to talk the man down. Efforts included using a loudspeaker to tell the man to "exit with his hands up," Parten said.

Police also told the man to check his phone for calls and voicemails from his parents. Law enforcement brought the man's parents to the scene in hopes of getting him to surrender.

About 4:30 a.m. Thursday, as the situation continued to escalate, a decision was made to use force, a statement from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said.

"We want to stress to the public that this is an active investigation," the association's statement said. "Over the last several years, misinformation, rumors, and innuendos have led to pain and distrust in our community and justice system."

In a series of tweets, Mayor Jacob Frey said, "All (in law enforcement) were working together to try and reach a peaceful resolution amid dangerous circumstances while keeping nearby residents safe. The City will continue working to share as much information as possible in these early hours and has turned the investigation over to the BCA."

Frey added, "I also want to express my gratitude to the City staff, including MPD officers and crisis negotiators, who worked diligently throughout the night alongside the individual's family members ... Any loss of life is tragic, and my deepest condolences go out to the family of the individual involved."

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Council Member Jamal Osman, who represents the area, thanked officers "for their quick action in responding to the call."

"They may have saved the lives of the neighbors," Osman said in a statement.

Residents were not allowed back into the apartment building until Thursday evening because of the active investigation, said state Rep. Mohamud Noor, DFL-Minneapolis, who represents the area.

"This is a tragic incident, no matter how you look at it," he said.

Noor said he was providing assistance to neighborhood residents. The apartment complex across the street is occupied by mostly East African elders with disabilities who hadn't left their units since the gunfire, he said.

Angel Scott, 28, said she heard the first shots around 8 p.m., before police arrived.

Scott, who lives in a nearby building, said she kept her kids away from the window and kept a watch on other buildings. Though she said crime happens in the area — including drug use in and around her building — this was worse.

"After last night, I did not sleep," Scott said.

Members of Sundberg's family, when contacted, declined to talk about what happened. His sister spoke briefly at the vigil but would not give her full name. She thanked those in attendance and recalled how, when her brother moved into the apartment, she took a picture of him with his cat.

"It's just hard to think that last night was his last night in that apartment with his cat," Sundberg's sister said.

Staff writers Liz Sawyer, Kyeland Jackson, Faiza Mahamud, Andy Mannix, Alex Chhith and Jeff Hargarten contributed to this report.

©2022 StarTribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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