Burnsville Police Officer Paul Elmstrand 'had a servant’s heart'

The grieving widow of Officer Paul Elmstrand is remembering her late husband on Monday, one day after he was killed in a shooting alongside two fellow Burnsville first responders.

Paul Elmstrand died Sunday morning after being struck by gunfire, as he responded to a 911 call for a domestic disturbance with an armed individual and seven children inside the home. Elmstrand was among the officers trying to bring the situation to a safe end until the gunman opened fire.

Three officers were shot along with a firefighter-paramedic. Two of the officers, Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, and the firefighter, Adam Finseth, were killed.

Monday, we are learning more about the victims, including Officer Elmstrand. Elmstrand, who was just 27 years old, had been with the Burnsville Police Department since August 2017. He started as a community service officer before being promoted to a full officer in 2019. He was a member of the department mobile command unit, peer team, Honor Guard, and field training unit.


In a message shared with FOX 9, his widow Cindy writes: "Our family is heartbroken at Paul’s death. He was an amazing husband, father, son, and friend to many. He loved to laugh and loved to play. He was the most generous, loving, patient person I've ever known with the biggest smile. He would stay awake so others could sleep. He could make anyone in a room feel welcome. He wore the same pair of pants and the most basic clothes so that he could spoil me and our children.

"He had a servant’s heart and would drop everything to help someone who was in need, whether it be family, friend or someone on the street. He loved his job as a police officer and had a strong bond with those he worked with, but he always placed his family first. He had an inner-confidence that was anchored in his faith in Jesus Christ."

His pastor at Woodridge Church, Zac Bush, also shared the following statement: "Our Woodridge community is grieving and mourning Paul’s death, but we take great hope that he’s with Jesus now. Paul demonstrated a sacrificial, Jesus-like love when he and the other brave officers and first responders answered and responded to the tragic call early Sunday morning. Jesus said in John 15:13 - ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ Paul did what he did because he loved God’s people. We have experienced an incredible outpouring of support from other churches and friends. We as a church will continue to stand and support Cindy and their two young children."

Elmstrand was the father of two young children.