ST. CLOUD, Minn. (FOX 9) - Police in St. Cloud, Minnesota say an 18-year-old man shot an officer in the hand during an arrest early Monday morning.
St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said shortly after midnight, officers received information there was a man with a firearm outside of a local business on the south side of the city. They responded and made contact with the suspect, who then fled.
After a short pursuit, the officers caught up with the suspect and a fight ensued. During the struggle, the suspect pulled out a handgun and fired one shot, striking the officer in the hand.
The chief said the officers did not return fire and were able to subdue the suspect and take him into custody. The entire incident lasted approximately five minutes.
The chief and community leaders said this was good example of community policing that could have had a much different outcome.
“This is one of those situations that could have gone markedly different,” Anderson said. “What I’m hearing across the nation is, what constitutes the use of deadly force? This did, and our officers showed great restraint, great professionalism because that’s how we do what we do in St. Cloud.”
The injured officer was taken to the hospital. He is currently in surgery, but his injury is considered non-life threatening. The chief said he was in “good spirits.”
The suspect was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries. He was arrested on probable cause Second Degree Assault and will be booked into the Stearns County Jail following his release from the hospital. Formal charges will be filed by the Stearns County Attorney’s office.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting. Four St. Cloud police officers are on standard paid administrative leave. The names of the officers will be released once the initial round of interviews is complete.
There is no body cam footage, and dash cam video did not capture the incident. BCA agents will review nearby surveillance and Taser video as part of their investigation.
The BCA is in the very early stages of its investigation. Once completed, the BCA will present its findings without recommendation to the Stearns County Attorney’s Office for review.
CROWD FORMS, MARCHES TO POLICE STATION
Shortly after the incident, rumors began to circulate on social media that police shot and killed as many as two black men. A crowd of around 100 people formed and marched to the police station, reportedly intending to take it over.
The chief said the crowd was acting on “misinformation, bad information and just flat out lies.”
"It is abhorrent to me that within minutes the story that went out, this place could have been on fire over a lie," Anderson said. 'Not just some misinformation, not just a few facts here and there, it was flat out untrue."
The group did not take over the police station, but several other properties were damaged along the way. Four additonal people were taken into custody on minor charges.