Victim in Crystal officer-involved shooting had airsoft gun, not firearm

- The victim in Wednesday's officer-involved shooting in Crystal, Minnesota was holding a black, handgun style airsoft gun, not a firearm, when he was shot, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Officers were called to Bassett Creek Park shortly before 9 a.m. on a report of a man with a gun on the disc golf course at the park. Upon arrival, officers confronted 18-year-old Khaleel Thompson and told him to drop his weapon.

According to the BCA, Thompson pointed the airsoft gun at the officers. One of the officers fired non-lethal rounds before the other three opened fire, striking Thompson. 

Naomi Thompson, the victim’s mother, told Fox 9 her son has a history of mental illness and has been in and out of programs.

“When he was surrounded by lots of cops, he was terrified, he was afraid,” Naomi said. “He’s not used to that. It doesn’t happen.”

Khaleel was taken to North Memorial Hospital, where he is currently being treated. His mother said he was shot once in head and once in abdomen, and had a kidney removed.

“They shot my son in the head,” Naomi said. “I don’t know if he is going to make it. It’s too early to tell if he is going to make it." 

The four Crystal officers involved in the shooting are currently standard administrative leave. They have been identified as Mason Barland, a nine-year veteran on the force, Brian Elfstrom, a four-year veteran, Kathleen Gomez, a 20-year veteran, and Txheng Vang, who has been on the force for three months.

There is dash camera footage of the incident from one of the officers’ squad cars, but none of the officers were wearing body cameras.

The shooting remains under investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the BCA will present its findings to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for review.

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