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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Two police officers, first responder shot and killed in Minnesota town

SUPERIOR, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 25: Minnesota Governor Tim Walz speaks about funding for the I-535 Blatnik Bridge before a visit by U.S. President Joe Biden at Earth Rider Brewery on January 25, 2024 in Superior, Wisconsin. Biden touched on his economic agenda and recent federal funding for infrastructure projects. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)  (Stephen Maturen)
By Greta Kaul, Dee DePass and Liz Sawyer Star Tribune

Two police officers and one first responder in Burnsville, Minnesota, have been shot and killed responding to a domestic abuse call.

In a statement late Sunday morning, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and Law Enforcement Labor Services issued a joint statement confirming the deaths, saying the officers and first responders were answering a call about assistance for reported domestic abuse. Law enforcement sources confirmed the suspected shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Law enforcement sources say the first responder was trying to help one of the wounded officers when shot, and that the shooting followed an hourslong standoff. According to emergency dispatch audio, the call was in connection with domestic abuse at a single-family home in the 12600 block of S. 33rd Avenue, a middle-class neighborhood in the southeastern corner of the city near Terrace Oaks East Park.

“We are heartbroken. Our law enforcement community is heartbroken. We’re just devastated at the horrific loss,” MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said in a statement. “These heroes leave behind loved ones and a community who will forever remember their bravery and dedication to keeping Minnesotans safe.”

Burnsville City Council Member Dan Kealy said that in addition to the three killed, a fourth person shot was recovering from surgery.

“We lost some heroes today, and we’re all feeling it.” Kealy said.

Jim Mortenson, executive director of LELS, Minnesota’s largest public safety labor union whose ranks include Burnsville’s rank-and-file officers and department supervisors, added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the officers and first responder who responded to a domestic call this morning. These officers were struck down while answering the call of duty to serve and protect. We mourn alongside the Burnsville community and the families of those killed.”

Officers from police departments including Minneapolis, South St. Paul, Woodbury, Inver Grove Heights and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office were staged outside of HCMC, where the bodies of the officers and medics were taken. Minneapolis police chief Brian O’Hara and senior commanders were present, and a police sergeant walked out of the hospital with a folded American flag under his arm.

Daniel Dix, who lives with his wife Jennifer two blocks away from the scene in Ville Du Parks Houses, said they received a text and phone call from Dakota County at 5:50 a.m. ordering them to shelter in place. It was lifted shortly before 11 a.m. and they received permission to leave their homes. Shortly after 11 a.m. police began cordoning off the scene with yellow crime scene tape. Dix said they only heard sirens, but another neighbor who did not want to be named said he heard shooting and banging.

Neighbor Daniel Nielsen lives a few blocks away. He said his Ring doorbell camera alerts began going off early in the morning as fire and police cars flashed by.

“It’s super sad,” he said while taking his dog Kengi for a walk near the house as the crime scene tape went up, and the brother of one of the officers arrived at the police barrier. He declined to speak with reporters.

Burnsville Police dispatch declined to give additional information but said the city would release information when possible.

Sunday’s killing of two Burnsville police officers marks the eighth incident in barely 10 months that law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded by gunfire in or near Minnesota.

By mid-morning on Sunday, many Minnesota police departments were posting messages of support for Burnsville.

“This is an extremely difficult day for our police department and fire department,” said Burnsville City Council Member Cara Schulz, who was serving as acting mayor Sunday morning. “As a community we are standing with them in solidarity, and we show our gratitude for their unwavering dedication and willingness to sacrifice for us.”

Schulz was heartened to see several residents had dropped off hot dishes at the department Sunday morning.

“There is already a wonderful outpouring of community support,” she said.

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan released statements mourning the loss of the officers and paramedic.

“We must never take for granted the bravery and sacrifices our first responders make each and every day. Today, the families of these public servants received the call they knew was possible but hoped would never come,” Walz said in a statement. “My heart is with those grieving families – the State of Minnesota stands ready to support in any way we can. This is a tragic loss for our state.”

Walz said the state’s Department of Public Safety is coordinating with local police to investigate the incident. He is ordering flags be flown half staff beginning Monday.


(Star Tribune staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report.)