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Minneapolis officer serving warrant kills man in apartment

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis police officer fatally shot a man Wednesday who authorities say had a loaded gun in his hand as officers entered a downtown apartment as part of a homicide investigation.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis police officer fatally shot a man Wednesday who authorities say had a loaded gun in his hand as officers entered a downtown apartment as part of a homicide investigation.

Authorities have not said if the man who was shot was connected to that investigation or named in a warrant. His identity was not released. An autopsy was planned.

Interim police Chief Amelia Huffman said the shooting happened at about 7 a.m. Wednesday. Officers from the Minneapolis department’s SWAT unit were serving warrants to help the St. Paul Police Department in the investigation.

Huffman said the officers used a key fob to gain entry to the apartment, and identified themselves as police before entering and once inside the apartment. Nine seconds after going inside, officers encountered a man with a handgun. A police statement said the gun was “pointed in the direction of officers.”

Huffman said he was “holding that gun in his hand at the time that shots were fired.”

She said police gave the man immediate medical attention, then carried him to paramedics. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Authorities recovered a loaded gun, Huffman said.

Huffman did not say whether the officer who fired was injured, or how many shots were fired. She and Mayor Jacob Frey did not take questions at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends who loved the man who lost his life today,” Huffman said. She said she has seen body camera video of the incident, but did not elaborate. The city said the video would not be made available to media while the case is open.

Social justice activists called for the officer to be arrested and charged, and urged police to release body-camera footage.

Authorities did not say whether the officers were serving a no-knock warrant. The Minneapolis Police Department restricted their use following the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

No-knock warrants are orders by judges that allow police to enter premises without notifying residents, such as by ringing the doorbell or banging on the door. Louisville, Kentucky, banned them following the botched raid in which officers killed Breonna Taylor in her home in March 2020, which led to calls for change nationwide. The Minnesota Legislature adopted some restrictions last June. And the U.S. Justice Department moved in September to curtail their use by federal agents.

Under the Minneapolis policy, which took effect in November 2020, officers usually must announce their presence as they enter, make periodic announcements while inside and give occupants reasonable time to respond. They're known as “entry with announcement” warrants. Judges can also sign warrants in high-risk situations that allow “unannounced entry,” and they're generally handled by SWAT teams.

The police statement did not identify the type of warrant, but said the officers “repeatedly announced their presence” after they entered and “advanced with continued loud announcements of their presence.”

John Baker, a former defense attorney who teaches aspiring police officers at St. Cloud State University, said it sounded to him like it was a no-knock warrant.

“If they used a key fob, where did they get that key fob as opposed to a knock and announce?” he said. “You have to knock and let somebody answer.”

Baker also wondered whether authorities had tried to serve a warrant previously before deciding to use a SWAT team, saying that much force is not normally the first approach.

“It’s strange to use SWAT, unless they had intel that this guy was armed and very dangerous,” he said.

A spokesman for the St. Paul Police Department said he could not comment because of the ongoing homicide investigation.

Few people were around Wednesday afternoon and police line tape limited access to most of the block in front of the upscale apartment building, which sits across the street from Orchestra Hall. Several police cars and a state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension crime scene van were parked outside.

The shooting came as three former officers are on trial in St. Paul on charges that they violated George Floyd’s civil rights. Floyd was among several Black men to die in confrontations with Minneapolis police in recent years, and his death spurred a drive to remake the department.

Minneapolis saw protests after Floyd's death, and again last June when Winston Smith Jr., a Black man, was shot and killed by members of a U.S. Marshals Service task force trying to arrest him on a warrant for being a felon in possession of a gun. Smith’s companion said the task force members weren’t in uniform and didn’t identify themselves and that she didn’t see Smith with a gun, as they claimed. A prosecutor found otherwise, saying the task force members were identifiable as law enforcement and ordered Smith out of the vehicle before he drew a gun and fired. No charges were filed against the task force members.

Huffman took over in January after the retirement of Medaria Arradondo, the city’s popular Black chief, who had been working with Frey on policy changes to reform the department. The Department of Justice is also conducting a civil rights investigation of the department.

Steve Karnowski And Amy Forliti, The Associated Press