(KMSP) - The Minneapolis police officers who approached Thurman Blevins responded to the following call on the scanner: “report of an intoxicated male walking around shooting a gun into the air.”
Officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly drove to the north Minneapolis neighborhood on the evening of June 23, just after dispatch notified squads in the area of a detailed 911 call in the area.
“There’s a guy walking around. He’s shooting off his gun and he looks intoxicated and that’s just not safe around here,” the caller stated.
The caller said he witnessed the man fire his gun once into the air, then again into the ground 15 minutes later.
“He's firing off shots and that’s why everybody started running away, like man this dude drunk, man, you gotta, uh, move around before he shoots somebody," the caller said.
When Schmidt and Kelly pulled up to Blevins, they said they immediately found him to match the description given by the 911 caller. As they got closer, Schmidt noticed a gun in Blevins' right pocket.
In individual interviews with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension a few days later, the officers recall seeing Blevins reach for his gun as he ran away.
“He’s got his right hand on his gun and he’s turning and looking over his left shoulder,” Kelly says recalling the chase. “He’s not trying to get away from us at all. He’s looking for a spot where he can whirl around and start shooting…and I’m thinking every time he slows down that he’s going to do it.”
Schmidt, who was in the lead, said he repeatedly told Blevins to drop the gun.
“I see the actual firearm clearing his pocket. It’s in his hand. It’s coming out. That’s when I stop, I plant, and I aim at center mass,” Officer Schmidt said.
At some point, investigators say Blevins fired back. Crime scene photos show his gun and a shell casing in the alley, with DNA linking him to the weapon.
"I feared for my life. I feared for my partner’s life. To me, he had every bit of intent on shooting my partner and I. I gave him numerous chances to give up, and he continued to escalate the situation," Officer Schmidt said.
Documents released Monday show Blevins had a blood alcohol level of .162 – double the legal driving limit – when he died.
Blevins has twice faced charges of fleeing from police – once in 2008 and once in 2012. In 2015, he was charged with assaulting a police officer.