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Minnesota Police Announce Three Dead, Hours After Standoff With Armed Man at a Suburban Home

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Tributes from the scene of the tragedy
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A man armed to the teeth with multiple guns and large amounts of ammunition fired at police officers from inside a suburban Minneapolis home containing children on Sunday. He succeeded in killing two officers and a firefighter who was providing medical aid to one of the wounded. 

A third officer also secured injuries in the shooting. It happened in a tree-lined neighborhood of two-story homes in Burnsville, Minnesota. The suspect in the shooting also died, according to officials.

The firefighter, who doubles as a paramedic, got in harm’s way while providing aid to an injured officer, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans said. He told reporters the paramedic was a part of a SWAT team responding to a domestic situation at the home.

Inside, an armed man had barricaded himself with his family, including seven children ranging in age from 2 to 15. According to Evans, negotiations lasted for hours before the suspect started shooting. He wasn’t specific on the exact amount of time. But the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said the shootout lasted four hours before a SWAT team gained entry into the home.

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Evans said the suspect had several guns and large amounts of ammunition. He also shot at the police officers from multiple positions within the home, including the upper and lower floors. 

“We still don’t know the exact exchange of gunfire that occurred,” Evans said. “Certainly, several officers did return fire.” Around 8 a.m., they found the suspect dead, and the family and children left the home unscathed. City officials identified the fallen officers as Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both 27.

The paramedic was Adam Finseth, 40. Elmstrand, a department’s mobile command staff member, joined the force in 2017. Ruge came aboard in 2020. He was part of the department’s crisis negotiations team and was a physical evidence officer.

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Another police officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott also walked away with injuries and is receiving treatment at a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. As the bodies of the dead left the hospital, officers saluted before they were taken in a convoy to the medical examiner’s office.

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“We’re hurting,” said Police Chief Tanya Schwartz. “Today, three members of our team made the ultimate sacrifice for this community. They are heroes.”

Alicia McCullum, the family’s neighbor, expressed relief to see a woman and children escorted out of their home. “We’re so thankful for those police officers that risked their lives to save those kids,” McCullum said. “And my heart goes out to that mother.”

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As news of the tragedy spread, other law enforcement agencies immediately began posting messages of condolence on social media. There were images of badges with blue bars through them, a mark of solidarity in mourning.

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“In times like these, it is essential to come together as a community and support one another through the uncertainty and grief,” said Marty Kelly, the sheriff in neighboring Goodhue County.

Flags were also raised half-staff, with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz urging those who walked past them to take a moment to think about the first responders who lost their lives. “Minnesota mourns with you,” he said. “The state stands ready to assist in any way possible.”

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