St. Paul police on fatal shooting: Driver struck squad before confronting officer

St. Paul Police investigate a shooting involving one of its officers Sunday evening.

St. Paul Police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting that took place Sunday night in the Midway neighborhood.

According to St. Paul Police, the shooting occurred at 5:50 p.m. near the intersection of Thomas Avenue West and North Griggs Street after a vehicle rear-ended a Saint Paul police squad car. A man exited the vehicle and started a physical confrontation with the police officer. During the fight, the officer shot and killed the man. The man died at the scene.

The officer was not injured, and the officer's body camera was on at the time of the shooting. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will review the footage and release it at a later date.

The BCA is also investigating reports of radio calls stating the man may have had a weapon.

Sunday's shooting marks the sixth in St. Paul in the past week. It's also the city's 20th of the year. St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said the recent wave of violence is the worst he's seen in 30 years in St. Paul.

Statement from St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter:

An officer-involved shooting is one of the most devastating situations a community must bear, and leaves lasting trauma for officers and residents alike.

To promote public safety and trust, I have asked Chief Axtell to release body camera footage of the incident as soon as reasonably possible, once the BCA has collected preliminary witness statements and the family of the deceased has first had an opportunity to view it.

Statement from Chief Todd Axtell:

Tonight is a sad and difficult night for our city.

One of our officers was faced with one of the most gut-wrenching situations imaginable. He shot and mortally wounded a man who later lost his life.

The BCA is investigating, so there’s not a lot I can say right now. But I want you all to know that everyone at your police department is deeply saddened by what happened. Our hearts go out to the family of the man who died, to the officer and his family, to the other officers and first responders who tried to save the man’s life, and to our entire community.

I know that, regardless of the circumstances, an officer-involved shooting is a tragedy for everyone involved. It hurts and causes confusion and leaves us all with questions that might not be immediately answered.

But I want you to know that your police department will do all it can to support the officer, who thankfully wasn’t injured. We’ll be there for the officers who were at the scene and his co-workers who know him the best. We’ll reach out to the family of the deceased to offer our deepest and most sincere condolences. And we’ll continue to focus our energy on keeping our city safe, which includes working to do everything possible from preventing another officer from having to make the most difficult of decisions.

Tonight I’ll say a prayer for the person whose life was lost, the officer involved, our city, our community members and every member of the Saint Paul Police Department. I ask you to do the same.