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Roseville police officer shot in face; suspect dies after opening fire in neighborhood

6 April 2022

A 53-year-old man with a history of mental health-related calls to police opened fire in his Roseville neighborhood Tuesday evening, firing off more than 100 rounds and shooting an officer in the face, Roseville Police Chief Erika Scheider said.

The suspect, believed to be armed with a rifle, eluded police for an hour, peppering them with intermittent gunfire before police found him in a yard.

Police returned fire. The suspect suffered a gunshot wound to the groin area and died at the hospital. Scheider said Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would release further details. She said Roseville officers wear body cameras and that footage has been turned over to the BCA.

The injured officer remains hospitalized Wednesday.

“Our officers are dedicated to serving as guardians of our community and preserving life whenever possible,” Scheider said. “Unfortunately, our officers had to take deadly force action last night to protect lives in the immediate area. This is not taken lightly.”

Scheider said neighbors called 911 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday reporting multiple shots fired in the 2900 block of West Owasso Boulevard, near Brenner Avenue. One caller reported a man firing a rifle with a scope at homes in a residential neighborhood.

A chaotic scene

“When our officers arrived in the area, they immediately came under fire with continuous rifle rounds being fired at the officers and their squad cars,” Scheider said. “Officers were unable to determine where the shots were coming from because the suspect had taken up a concealed position in a wooded residential area.”

In the first minutes, a Roseville officer was struck in the face by gunfire from the suspect, the chief said. Fellow officers dragged the injured officer to safety, loaded him into a squad and drove him to the hospital.

Scheider said residents were told to shelter in place while Roseville police and neighboring police agencies including Ramsey County Sheriff’s SWAT team searched for the shooter . Scheider said the suspect was on the move and would intermittently open fire on officers and homes.

“Because of the wooded area, because of the weather, because of the darkness, the officers were unable to locate him, but they could hear and literally feel and see the shots being fired at them and past them during that hour timeframe,” Scheider said.

A Roseville officer located the suspect at 8:34 p.m. outside a home.

“The Roseville officer returned fire and the suspect sustained a significant injury to his groin area,” Scheider said.

Scheider said the officer is in stable condition and is a “well-respected, wonderful officer.”

15 prior calls for help

They have not released the name of the suspect or the injured officer, who has been with the department nearly three years. They also did not say if a gun was recovered at the scene, which spanned three blocks.

The suspect was involved in about 15 prior mental health-related police calls, the chief said.

“Our thoughts are also with the suspect’s family this morning as they mourn and deal with their own loss,” Scheider said.

Multiple law enforcement agencies converged on the site, and authorities shut down at least a half-mile of road around the scene. There are no reports of any other injuries.

The neighborhood of mostly single-family homes is in the northeast corner of the city. It’s a mix of older homes and some newer million-dollar homes on the shores of Lake Owasso, which straddles the Roseville-Shoreview border.

‘It was unnerving’

Alex and Ellie Berner live in the neighborhood, which they describe as typically quiet and peaceful.

Alex Berner thought he heard fireworks Tuesday evening. When he started walking down the block to investigate, an officer told him it was gunfire. Ellie Berner grabbed their infant son and waited in the basement for 45 minutes while Alex kept watch upstairs. They could see the flashlights of officers searching through the darkness and the rain. They saw an officer laying prone on a neighbor’s driveway trying to avoid gunshots.

“It was unnerving to not know what was going on and to not know what would happen, ” Ellie Berner said. “We were ready to defend ourselves. “

They later saw authorities move the injured suspect. The Berners say the suspect lived in the neighborhood but they didn’t know him.

One of their neighbors found more than a dozen shell casings in their driveway, the couple said. They also praised police for quickly defusing the threat.

“They did a wonderful job,” Alex Berner said.

Praise for officers

“Listening to how things unfolded last night, I could not be prouder of the bravery and courage that was demonstrated by our officers,” Scheider said. “Knowing innocent lives were on the line, they ran to the threat and they did exactly what they were trained to do. All of this knowing their partner had just been struck by gunfire.”

Roseville Mayor Dan Roe also praised the first responders called to the scene.

“We are all extremely thankful that, given the nature of the incident, more people were not harmed,” Roe said in an written statement. “I am grateful to Roseville Police and Fire, in addition to all of the partner agencies, for their bravery and professionalism under extremely difficult circumstances. Today we hold our injured officer and his family, as well as the traumatized people of our community and the family and friends of the deceased suspect, in our hearts.”

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