Family members have identified the man shot and killed by St. Paul police Monday night in the city's Dayton's Bluff neighborhood.
Howard Johnson, 24, was identified by his aunt, Tonya Medvec. Medvec and another aunt arrived Tuesday morning with candles and balloons to commemorate Johnson as police tape clung to the wall of a nearby building and blood was still caked on the pavement.
Johnson displayed a gun and was attempting to commit a carjacking as police moved in to make an arrest, and he was fatally shot by officers, police said. The Ramsey County medical examiner has yet to officially identify Johnson, who according to court records is Black.
Officers' body cameras were recording when they fired multiple rounds and struck Johnson in the torso and leg about 6:10 p.m. near Hudson Road and Earl Street, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Ernster said.
Police rendered aid before Johnson was taken to Regions Hospital, where he died, Ernster said.
St. Paul police say the shooting unfolded after officers encountered Johnson while responding to a domestic assault call. The caller told police the man had a gun, but he ran away before officers arrived.
Police searched the area and spotted Johnson on Hudson Road with a gun in his hand. Officers moved in when it appeared he was attempting to commit the carjacking.
A police squad hit the suspect. The man still had a gun in his hand and raised it, which is when officers fired, Ernster said.
The officers will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure after a police shooting. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will lead the investigation. BCA spokeswoman Bonney Bowman said the agency would provide updates on the case in the next few days but will not release body camera footage until the case is closed and fully adjudicated. St. Paul police could decide to release the video sooner, but Ernster said there is currently no timetable on when they might release that footage.
"I am saddened by the news of tonight's officer-involved shooting, a painful trauma that will impact the family and friends of the deceased, the men and women of our St. Paul Police Department and our entire community for a very long time," Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement.
Carter promised a thorough, timely and transparent investigation and said "we are committed to the release of body cam footage as quickly as possible."
Curtis Collins, 61, was stopping to buy cigarettes when the shooting happened. He said that Johnson walked past the M&A Market "harassing" people with a gun in hand. He said Johnson may not have been in his right mind at the time.
"The kid was wrong, but [he's] not the only one wrong. You've got to look at what the system has done," Collins said, pointing to a lack of discipline in many households. "We can't even control our kids because the system is broken. … You're telling us, 'Don't discipline our kids,' but what gives you the right to kill the kids?"
Xia Vang, an employee at Mounds Liquor down the street, said police asked him about a suspect about an hour before the shooting. As Vang sat to watch a football game, he said he heard five to nine gunshots.
"When I heard the shots, I was like, 'Must be a drive-by,' " Vang said. "Poked my head out and realized it was the police."
St. Paul City Council Member Jane Prince called the shooting in her ward a tragedy and said the public can expect a quick and thorough investigation.
"I think that everybody involved knows that we have a huge public responsibility to provide as much information as soon as we have it," Prince said. "This is a business community that has really worked on improving safety in the neighborhood. It's pretty close to where I live, so I'm there frequently. I feel like it is just one of those tragedies that happens somewhere, and it happened in a place where we really are working on improving safety and walkability."
Since 2000, Star Tribune data show 29 officer-involved deaths in St. Paul — including Monday's — and 38 in Minneapolis.
Star Tribune staff writers Katie Galioto, Louis Krauss and Jeff Hargarten contributed to this report.