A felony suspect was shot and killed by police in an exchange of gunfire during a traffic stop conducted late Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to authorities.
“Officers were conducting a traffic stop involving a felony suspect,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a press briefing. “Initial witness statements indicate that the subject involved in this felony stop fired first at Minneapolis Police officers who then exchanged gunfire.”
Arradondo added that the suspect, whose identity and background are unclear, was pronounced dead at the scene by medical services. A female passenger who was seated in the suspect’s car at the time of the shooting was unharmed.
Police spokesman John Elder said no officers were injured following the exchange of gunfire. He also said he didn’t know how many officers were at the scene carrying out the traffic stop or how many were involved in the shooting.
The officers had their body cameras turned on and the police chief promised to release the video for the public to watch.
“I want our communities to see that so they can see for themselves,” Arradondo said. He also said that he hopes the community will allow investigators to “get the evidence, get the facts,” so the case can be processed. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to handle the investigation.
Arradondo said the traffic stop was carried out by members of a police community response team—longstanding units that respond to situations such as drug investigations and gun crime. He said he did not have additional details on why the man was sought.
Shortly after the officer-involved shooting, protesters gathered outside a gas station near the area of the incident. Authorities immediately urged protesters to avoid any “destructive criminal behavior.”
“I know there are several [people] who are out at the scene, who are gathering,” Arradondo said during the briefing.
“We want to do everything we can to protect everyone’s First Amendment rights to freely assemble and demonstrate but I say again, we cannot allow destructive criminal behavior. Our city has gone through too much,” he added.
Minneapolis saw widespread protests that sometimes turned violent following the May 25 death of George Floyd, an African American man. The protests spread around the country, resulting in hundreds of businesses getting burned and millions of dollars in property damage.
“I certainly understand the feelings that they have and as I’ve had mentioned before, I know that we are a city where many, still, are traumatized and are going through quite a bit,” Arradondo told a reporter who asked him what he would tell the people that are still impacted by recent events in the city.
The police chief continued that re-traumatizing or re-harming the community through acts such as civil unrest or destruction of property won’t get the city any closer to a point of healing, asking everyone to allow authorities to have a full investigation and watch the body camera video that will be made public.
“I‘m letting our community know, I will be releasing that video tomorrow, that’s a first, so I want our communities to see that,” Arradondo said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.