St. Paul police shoot, kill suspect; NAACP calls for investigation

Around 2:30 this morning, an otherwise quiet night in St. Paul suddenly turned into chaos.

St. Paul police say they were responding to a call at the Valley Apartments at 261 University Ave. E. near Regions Hospital on a report that a man was sending a woman threatening texts. Police also say they were told the suspect might have a gun.

Soon after arrival, police shot and killed the suspect. But what happened right before the shooting is unclear.

Several cars in the apartment building's parking lot appeared to be wrecked, including an SUV that looks to have a burned interior. How that's connected with the shooting isn't known at this time.

St. Paul police said this afternoon they found a gun at the scene, but it's not known whether the weapon was pointed at officers or fired.

The NAACP says the man who was shot and killed was an African American in his 20s.

Jeffry Martin of the NAACP says he understands there are a lot of questions, but that the lack of trust between the black community and police is reason enough to call for an independent investigator.

"With names like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Mr. Lollie -- our skyway incident -- being in the news on a national level, we ask at this time that the St. Paul Police Department and the mayor consider hiring an independent investigator to take a look at this case," Martin said during a news conference today.

Martin added that the citizens' review board that investigates complaints against police officers isn't independent of the department.

"You do have two active officers who are currently part of that process as well, and we don't know what if any influence they have on decisions that are made, that come out of that process," Martin said.

Late this afternoon, St. Paul police released a statement on behalf of Police Chief Thomas Smith that says preliminary information indicates the suspect drove his vehicle at officers.

"As this is a very active case, I ask citizens to be patient and allow us to thoroughly complete our process," Smith adds. "I also thank those citizens and community leaders who have refrained from speculating, sharing misinformation and making unfounded statements."

"There have been inaccurate statements made by those without any direct knowledge of the investigation," he continues. "Not only are these statements irresponsible, they could also compromise the integrity of the investigation."