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Police in Minneapolis shoot, kill man in gunfight during traffic stop, reports say

The Minneapolis Police. (Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons/Released)

A man was shot and killed by police Wednesday night after exchanging gunfire with officers during a traffic stop, according to reports.

But even though police say the suspect opened fire first, protesters quickly surrounded the shooting scene in the city’s first officer-involved death since George Floyd was killed in May, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. The Star-Tribune reports the scene became tense as about 100 protesters gathered, cursing police and sometimes throwing snowballs.

In a news conference, police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the unidentified suspect fired first on officers during the traffic stop at about 6:15 p.m., the New York Times reports. At least one officer returned fire, killing the suspect. A woman also was in the car but was not injured, KARE Channel 11 reports.

Arrandondo said the man killed was a felony suspect and that witnesses say he fired first. Bodycam footage of the encounter will be released today, the chief said. The race of the suspect was not disclosed.

The shooting occurred less than a mile from where Floyd was killed in May, the Times reports, and that Floyd’s death remains fresh in the minds of many people in the city. Officials were pleading with residents not to repeat the unrest that plagued the city during the summer, the Times reports.

“As chief, I recognize the trauma that our city has been under, and we want to do everything we can to maintain the peace,” Arrandondo said, according to the Star-Tribune. “Our city has gone through too much. We need to keep our officers safe, we need to keep our community safe, and I tell you, we need to preserve that crime scene.”

Mayor Jacob Frey also called for calm, the Star-Tribune reports.

“Events of this past year have marked some of the darkest days in our city,” Frey said in a statement. “We know a life has been cut short and that trust between communities of color and law enforcement is fragile. … We must all be committed to getting the facts, pursuing justice, and keeping the peace.”

The Times reports that the few people who remained at the scene early Thursday morning were calm. However, the Star-Tribune reports that earlier in the evening, officers at the scene asked for permission to use a 40 mm launcher because of protesters throwing snowballs. The request was declined. They were told they could use pepper spray only in the case of “assaultive conduct,” the Star-Tribune reports.

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