See more of the story

A Minneapolis police officer shot and killed a man inside a high-end apartment building downtown on Wednesday morning after officials say he brandished a gun while officers were serving a search warrant.

The shooting happened at the Bolero Flats Apartment Homes at 1117 S. Marquette Av., across the street from Orchestra Hall. Authorities said the name of the officer is Mark Hanneman; they did not immediately release the name of the person killed, but civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong later identified him as Amir Locke.

Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman said at a news conference that a SWAT team was in the area serving search warrants on behalf of St. Paul police in connection with a homicide investigation.

"This is the call that no police chief wants to receive," Huffman said, calling the episode "wrenching" for everyone involved and passing along her condolences to the man's family.

According to the police account, officers entered the secured building just before 7 a.m. and went directly to the target apartment on the seventh floor, which they entered using a key fob. "They loudly and repeatedly announced 'police search warrant,' before they crossed the threshold into the apartment, and ongoing as they made entry," Huffman told reporters. "Just over nine seconds after they had made entry into the apartment, the officers encountered a male who was armed with a handgun. He was holding that gun in his hand at the time that shots were fired."

Only one officer fired, striking the man at least once, Huffman said. Officers rendered aid and carried the man outside, where paramedics took over trying to revive him. The man died later at a nearby hospital.

Huffman said that a loaded 5.7-millimeter handgun was recovered at the scene. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will investigate the shooting. Police also released photos of the weapon in question Wednesday afternoon: a brown gun with a black slide.

The handgun Minneapolis police say they recovered from a man they say was armed when they shot and killed him while executing a warrant.
The handgun Minneapolis police say they recovered from a man they say was armed when they shot and killed him while executing a warrant.

Minneapolis police

It was not clear whether the man shot was the same person who was being sought by law enforcement.

Huffman and Mayor Jacob Frey declined to take questions at the news conference. But Huffman confirmed that there was body-camera footage of the incident and that she had seen it. In the past, authorities have taken weeks, sometimes months, to release video from police shootings, but local officials have promised to do so more quickly in future cases.

Well into Wednesday morning, police and the BCA were still on scene, with the surrounding area cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape. Although the building was secured, residents were allowed to come and go. Three residents who live on the seventh floor told the Star Tribune that they didn't hear anything.

News of the shooting spread quickly on social media, where many called on city and police leaders to quickly release all body-camera footage and the names of the officers present.

The Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in a tweet called on the police to "act with full transparency."

Jae Yates, an organizer with the advocacy group Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, said that in the past police had used the presence of firearms as justification for the use of deadly force.

But, Yates said, serving a "warrant does not give police the right to be the judge, jury and executioner."

"The mere sight of a gun should not supersede someone's right to trial and right to live," said Yates.

In a brief statement, Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis president Sgt. Sherral Schmidt said that the union was thankful that all of the officers involved were "safe." She said that the officer who shot the man was forced to make a "split-second decision to save his life and the lives of fellow officers."

She said the union would cooperate with the BCA's investigation.

The shooting comes at a crossroads for the city's police force, which is still trying to reform itself after George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has since been convicted of his murder. The May 2020 killing set off worldwide protests and reignited debate about what policing should be in the United States. Three other officers are on trial in federal court; Chauvin previously pleaded guilty to the federal charges against him.

Wednesday's shooting is also sure to revive a simmering debate over police raids.

Minneapolis police have not said whether the warrant executed Wednesday was a "no-knock" warrant. But such warrants are regularly obtained in connection with investigations of violent crimes.

Minneapolis restricted the use of no-knock raids in November 2020, joining other cities that have banned or limited the practice in the wake of several high-profile police shootings.

Under Minneapolis policy, officers must identify themselves as "police" and announce their purpose as "search warrant" before entering any domicile — regardless of whether a judge signed off on an "unannounced" or "no-knock" entry. Once inside a residence, officers are supposed to periodically repeat those announcements in case occupants didn't hear them. The same rules, which mirror those already in place in St. Paul, also apply for arrest warrants.

Policy dictates that no-knock warrants would be acceptable only in high-risk circumstances such as a hostage situation, when "giving an announcement would create an imminent threat of physical harm to victims, officers or the public."

If investigators want an exception to search a residence without warning, they will need express permission from the chief or a designee.

On Wednesday evening, a group of activists gathered in frigid weather outside the apartment building where the shooting occurred for a vigil. They called on city and police leaders to release more information on what happened, including who authorized the SWAT team to enter the building.

Armstrong said the state should establish an independent prosecutor's office to investigate police killings.

"With this huge surplus there's absolutely no excuse to [not] set up an office like that and to fully fund it," she said.

Staff writer Alex Chhith contributed to this report.