At least 19 people have been shot in Minneapolis since widespread unrest began over the death of George Floyd in police custody, raising concerns with police officials and residents about the crime-heavy summer months ahead.
While only one of the shootings has been publicly linked to the protests, department statistics show that shooting tally was nearly five times greater than during the same span last year, when there were just four shootings.
Police say they received 131 shots-fired calls and ShotSpotter activations over a 24-hour period ending at 8 a.m. Saturday, during which at least six people were struck by gunfire.
The incidents were spread across the city and included a woman who was found dead Friday at N. Bryant and 17th avenues. Police were looking into the possibility that the victim, who was found inside a vehicle, may have been sexually assaulted. Police previously said that she had been shot in the head.
The other homicide — and the only incident tied to the rioting — occurred Wednesday when a pawnshop owner shot and killed 43-year-old Calvin L. Horton. The owner, 59, was later booked into jail on suspicion of murder. A spokesman for the county attorney's office said that prosecutors have 36 hours to hold a suspect without charges, but that in this case they had obtained an extension. He was released from jail Monday evening as the investigation continues. He is not being named because he has not been formally charged, in keeping with the Star Tribune's policy.
Nine of the shootings last week happened on the city's North Side, while another nine occurred in the Third Precinct, which has been the epicenter of the massive protests. Police are still working to determine whether another shooting occurred, but the victim is being uncooperative, said department spokesman Garrett Parten.
M. Michaux Parker, an associate professor of criminal justice at Indiana University East, said that other cities experienced surges in violent crime in the wake of a controversial police killing, including, notably, Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.
"It's fairly common to see upticks in violent crimes after police shootings that don't appear to conform to the laws of deadly force," said Parker, a former police officer. He said that when people witness "state-sponsored violence, it communicates the idea that any violence is OK."
Police abuse can undermine law enforcement's claims of legitimacy and encourage people to take the law into their own hands, he said. "Even with the charges against the one officer, from a citizen's perspective this is not over," he added.
State leaders admitted to being caught off guard by the size and ferocity of the protests that have shaken parts of south Minneapolis, saying that the hundreds of law enforcement officers deployed on city streets Friday were quickly outnumbered by "tens of thousands" of rioters. Dozens of area businesses and buildings have been looted or destroyed.
Now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of Floyd, whose final minutes captured on a bystander's video prompted protests and growing unrest across the country. Chauvin had Floyd pinned under his knee for minutes, ignoring Floyd's pleas that he couldn't breathe, after police arrested him for reportedly using a fake $20 bill at a convenience store. The three other fired officers involved haven't yet been arrested.
Libor Jany • 612-673-4064 Twitter: @StribJany