Witnesses recount night of Minneapolis officer-involved shooting

There are several different accounts of what led up to the death of Thurman Blevins Saturday evening in Minneapolis, as residents and city leaders demand the release of body camera video.

The north Minneapolis neighborhood, meanwhile, is still very much traumatized by what happened that night.

Neighbor Jennie Cauwels was sitting on her deck Saturday when she heard Blevins having a heated discussion with a woman.

“What I did hear is a conversation that was happening over here—it was a male voice and a female voice arguing back and forth, nothing huge,” she said.

Despite at least one 911 call from the neighborhood about Blevins firing a gun in the air, Cauwels said she never heard gun shots prior to Minneapolis police arriving.

“I wholeheartedly believe that there were not gunshots fired in my neighborhood on that day," she said.

Investigators say when officers got out of their squad, Blevins took off running and had a gun on him. A few blocks away, officers fired their guns and shot Blevins; he died in the alley near 47th and Bryant avenues.

Neighbor Robert Lang had just finished mowing his lawn when he heard a loud commotion in front of his garage.

"Right as I got to the corner, I heard police say multiple times to drop the gun - about three times to drop the gun," Lang said.

Lang said he heard police shoot about nine or 10 times and saw Blevins lying on his back with a gun next to him. He said an officer kicked it out of the way and said ’clear.’

Fox 9 has learned that Blevins had an extensive criminal history, including a 2015 felony charge for 4th degree assault on a peace officer. Court documents say he threw bodily fluids at the officer.

Israel Ramos used to work on Blevins’ motorcycle and said he never saw the 31-year-old with a gun. 

Most recently, they talked about the loss of Blevins’ sister.

“I know in the last couple of weeks he lost his sister, too. He was crying that time when 
I talked to him. Now I find out this and it’s sad,” Ramos said.

Minneapolis police were not able to discuss whether or not the local shot spotters were active, but they did say shootings in north Minneapolis are down about 28 percent this year.