Metro Transit chief blames drug dealers after shooting outside Lake Street LRT station

The Metro Transit police chief minced no words on Monday, blaming "consistently loitering" drug dealers after a man was shot in broad daylight outside the Lake Street light rail station in Minneapolis on Monday.

The victim, a 26-year-old man, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition after the shooting around 3:45 p.m., police said.

Shots were fired on the west of the Lake Street Station at East Lake Street and Hiawatha Boulevard. The victim was shot and tried to run away before collapsing.

Metro Transit Police Chief Ernest Morales III made it clear the shooting was not related to an incident on the light rail. Instead, he says drug dealers who like to congregate near the station intruded on Metro Transit property.

"I want to make this clear: This was not transit-related," said Chief Morales. "As we have drug dealers who hang out on this corner all of the time. They drifted over. Some altercation appears to take place."

Chief Morales later added: "There are no routes here. This street is blocked off [for construction]. You look behind us, and you see the drug dealers consistently loitering in this corner. It leads to problems on our transit system. Not the other way around. We have security here 24 hours a day. I put a lot of resources into this area to make transit safe."

A witness who spoke with FOX 9 also expressed frustration with the lack of police pre-intervention.

"There have been previous altercations over here that people have been calling the police and telling them what's going on," said Tashi, who witnessed Monday's shooting. "[Calls] regarding safety, people being domestically assaulted, they do not come. You'll be fighting for your life all day before south Minneapolis police come."

The chief says the shooting appears to have been premeditated, with the victim getting surrounded by a group of people before a masked gunman fired shots. The victim was shot at least once.

The shooting Monday afternoon marked the eighth person shot over a span of less than 24 hours in Minneapolis.