|Posted by Justin Version on May 14, 2013 at 10:45 AM|
A Minneapolis police chase erupted in gunfire Friday afternoon, leaving the suspect dead, two officers wounded and authorities investigating the details of the shooting and how a police vehicle speeding to the scene collided with a motorcycle, killing the rider and injuring his passenger.
The male officers were listed in stable condition with gunshot wounds at Hennepin County Medical Center, police said.
The man, who family members identified as Terrence Terrell Franklin, 22, of Minneapolis, was shot after police chased him to a home at 2717 Bryant Av. S.
The dead motorcyclist was identified by friends as Ivan Romero Oliveras, 24, of Minneapolis. The injured passenger, Jocelin Torrejon, was listed in satisfactory condition at HCMC.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Police Chief Janeé Harteau arrived at the hospital shortly after the shooting. Harteau spoke briefly, saying that investigators were not looking for any other suspects.
“This is a very tough day for the Minneapolis Police Department,” Harteau said. “The situation was a tragic one.”
Police said the chase started after a caller reported seeing a man he suspected of burglarizing his home. When police confronted him, the man fled, almost hitting an officer. Before reaching the Bryant Avenue home, the man ran into Flanders Brothers Cycle at 2707 Lyndale Av. S.
“He said he wanted to see a bike,” said Ann VanBellinger, a cyclist who was at the shop to visit with friends.
She and some of the shop’s staff soon sensed something wasn’t right, however. Minutes passed as the man, wearing a red T-shirt, black pants and sporting dreadlocks, stood by the front door peering out the display window as if hiding from someone.
Suddenly, the man ran toward the back of the bicycle shop, which has no rear exit.
John Haugh, a mechanic who moonlights as a security guard for a downtown club, gave chase.
The man hurdled a half door as he burst into the shop’s rear service area, then ran up a short flight of stairs into a rear room used for storage. Trapped, he ran through the area and started back toward the front of the shop, blasting through a latched door.
His phone flew out of his pocket as he hurdled another half door. He stopped just long enough to collect the phone, which had broken into two pieces, before bolting out the front door. A squad car pulled up, and workers at the bicycle shop watched as the man ran across Lyndale Avenue with police close behind.
A woman who lives nearby, Cassondra Nelson, said she and her friends had just returned from shopping when they saw police converge on W. 28th Street, between Aldrich and Bryant Avenues S.
They appeared to be searching four homes across the street, going in and out of each with a police dog, she said. The police shut down a section of Bryant Avenue S. while searching for Franklin.
When they allowed people to return, homeowner James Bickal noticed a broken rear window, according to Minnesota Public Radio, where Bickal works. He notified police, who entered the house with a K-9 officer and confronted Franklin in the basement.
There Franklin struggled with the dog and additional officers were called to help.
“An intense struggle ensued and during the struggle, 2 assisting MPD officers were shot and wounded. The suspect was also shot and is deceased,” according to a release from police spokeswoman Cyndi Barrington.
She also reported that Franklin had a lengthy arrest history, but provided no details.
A KSTP-TV report cited unnamed sources as saying that during the struggle in the basement Franklin had grabbed a submachine gun strapped to the chest of one of the SWAT team members and pulled the trigger, apparently firing the bullets that hit two officers.
At a late night news conference Harteau said she didn’t know if the officers had been shot with a police weapon and called the investigation “preliminary” and “complex.”
Later, a police spokesman also said the department had no comment on the report.
In the hours after the shooting, more friends and relatives of Franklin’s gathered at the edge of the shooting scene, looking for answers. Standing as close as the police would allow, several of them said they first heard of the shooting on Facebook, then watched as Franklin’s Facebook page filled up with condolences.
“I just knew he was a good kid,” said Nicole Guise, the mother of Franklin’s three step siblings. “Every time he saw me he would hug me.”
She said Franklin had a 3-year-old son.
“He was a good person; he was not for this,” said Shenise Guise, a relative. She and other members of the family became increasingly frustrated Friday as police officers guarding the area would not allow them into the crime scene.
“I need to know!” shouted Franklin’s father, Walter, who begged police officers to let him see the body. A pair of higher ranking officers eventually appeared and took Franklin aside for a private conversation. Franklin, his head rocking back in grief, then walked away and sat down on a lawn.
On Blaisdell Avenue, the body of Oliveras, the motorcyclist, remained in the intersection with 26th Street for hours as law enforcement officers investigated the crash.
According to witnesses, Torrejon, the female passenger, was injured when the police SUV hit the back of the bike, throwing both riders off.
Enrique Martin, a witness, said police were heading west on 26th Street and the motorcycle was going south on Blaisdell Avenue.
Another witness interviewed by police, Kyndell Harkness, a Star Tribune photojournalist who witnessed the crash as she was on her way to the shooting scene, said she was passed by three police cars with lights flashing and sirens on that went through the red light at Blaisdell, where the motorcyclist had a green light.
The first police car hit the motorcycle, she said; Oliveras was not wearing a helmet and was wearing flip-flops.
The police cars stopped and officers rushed to try and help the motorcycle riders, Harkness said.
Oliveras died at the scene.
Staff writers Maya Rao contributed to this report.
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