An investigation is underway after Minneapolis police shot and killed a man in the Seward neighborhood Thursday morning following an hours-long standoff.
Minneapolis police released an incident report Thursday night identifying the man as 20-year-old Andrew Tekle Sundberg, who lived on the third floor of the apartment building where he was shot. Sahan Journal reached out to an address listed to Sundberg’s relatives, and did not receive comment on the matter.
Steve Scofield coached Sundberg for two years when he was in 7th and 8th grade, and remembered him as a “sweet” kid. Tekle and Scofield’s son were friends.
“He had a big heart, really sweet kid,” Scofield said. “When I saw him a couple years ago when he was an adult, we hugged. He always struck me as a really sweet, misunderstood kid.”
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting in the 900 block of 21st Avenue South. The bureau typically takes over investigations of incidents where officers have fired shots. It released a statement about the case Thursday afternoon, recounting some of the information released earlier in the day by Minneapolis police.
The bureau said two Minneapolis police officers discharged their rifles. Police identified the officers involved as Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also said its investigators found a gun at the scene, and are “reviewing footage to determine whether the incident was captured on body camera.” A Minneapolis police incident report released late Thursday showed that body camera video was available, but did not say whether it captured any of the events.
“This investigation is in the very early stages,” said the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s statement. “More information will be released pending further investigation.”
The shooting comes five months after Minneapolis police shot and killed Amir Locke in an apartment downtown while executing a search warrant. No independent eyewitness accounts were immediately available Thursday.
A neighbor’s report of gunshots leads to a police call
According to preliminary information provided by the Minneapolis Police Department, the latest incident began around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, when a mother with two children reported that someone had shot into her apartment.
Police say they heard additional gunshots as they arrived on the third floor of the apartment building. Officers called for backup and worked to move the mother, her children, and others in the building to safety. Police also began negotiations with the man isolated inside an apartment on the third floor.
“These attempts included identifying and calling the man’s cell phone as well as bringing the man’s parents to the scene to help,” a Minneapolis police press release says. “They tried communicating through phone calls, voice mails, and video messages. Officers also made numerous attempts through a public address system to instruct the man to exit the apartment with his hands raised.”
For six hours, crisis team negotiators and SWAT from the police department attempted to negotiate with the man, believed to be in his 20s. Police then shot him at 4:30 a.m. Thursday. The injured man was transported to Hennepin Healthcare, where he died.
Police have not provided any additional information about the events leading up to the shooting. The county medical examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy and release the man’s identity and cause and manner of death at a later time.
Neighbors gather outside the apartment
On Thursday morning, Abdi Abdi, 26, was one of several people gathered outside the police perimeter. He said he was a high school classmate and friend of the man who died, and he said he had been concerned about his friend after recent conversations.
Abdi also said he was confused about why the lengthy standoff ended with his friend dead.
MarMar Bryant, 19, told Sahan Journal that he’s known Sundberg since he was 8. He said they both grew up in south Minneapolis and went to Roosevelt High School together.
Bryant said they used to be close, but hadn’t seen each other much in recent years. Bryant remembered his friend as an avid BMX biker and a “good soul.” He was shocked to hear news of the man’s death by police.
“We used to do a lot–go to the park and play football,” Bryant said. “He was super spiritual. You could be down, and he would bring you up from a dark place.”
Scofield, Sundberg’s former soccer coach, said he believed Sundberg struggled with mental health issues.
“I just feel like he didn’t get the support he needed, because the Tekle that I knew was just the sweetest kid,” Scofield said. “Every time I saw him, we hugged and we just exchanged kind words. He seemed like a really sweet person to me.”
He last saw Sundberg a few years ago.
“A few years ago my wife and I were out eating and he just happened to work at the restaurant,” Scofield said. “As usual, I gave him a big hug. We talked for a few minutes, and just asked how he was doing. That was the last I saw him.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, in a series of tweets, said, “This is not the outcome anyone wanted. Any loss of life is tragic, and my deepest condolences go out to the family of the individual involved.”
“I also want to express my gratitude to the City staff, including MPD officers and crisis negotiators, who worked diligently throughout the night alongside the individual’s family members,” Frey continued. “All were working together to try and reach a peaceful resolution amid dangerous circumstances while keeping nearby residents safe. The City will continue working to share as much information as possible in these early hours and has turned the investigation over to the BCA.”
The apartment building where the incident took place remained evacuated Thursday afternoon as Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents and crime scene personnel continued to investigate.
Nicholas Soldner, 21, was evacuated from his second-floor apartment in the building shortly after police arrived Wednesday night.
“They’re running into the building with shields and assault rifles,” Soldner said. “They banged on my door and told me to run. So that’s what I did.”
Soldner told Sahan Journal an empty Metro Transit bus eventually arrived at the scene to house residents overnight. Soldner was waiting Thursday to retrieve his keys and wallet from his apartment, because tenants were still prohibited from entering the building.
State Representative Mohamud Noor, who represents part of Minneapolis, arrived at the scene Thursday morning.
“We’re trying to gather as much information, because we have scheduled discussions,” Mohamud said. “I wanted to make sure that I have enough firsthand information. I know some people that live here because this is part of my district. I’m trying to gather and see, but it seems everybody else is scattered around.”
Late Thursday evening, about a hundred community members mourned the passing of Andrew Tekle Sundberg at the site of his death. In front of his apartment, people wrote his name in chalk. Candles and flowers were also left behind in his memory.
A number of close family members, friends, former teachers, and classmates of Sundberg attended, sharing memories and voicing their anger at the police.
In attendance was Trinity Shaw, a former high school classmate of Sundberg.
“I found out while I was at work, and it was just really heavy,” Shaw said. “I was surprised and shocked it ended that way, but I’m also not. Because this happens so many times with the police. And it’s just an endless cycle.”
Shaw said Sundberg was younger than her, but she always saw him in the hallway.
“He was always playing music. Like good vibes all the time,” Shaw recalled.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates. Additional reporting from Drew Arrieta and MPR News.