911 caller felt unsafe before last month’s Minneapolis police shooting

Published 8:32 pm Monday, July 2, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — A 911 caller who reported a man firing a gun in a north Minneapolis neighborhood urged a dispatcher to hurry officers to the scene minutes before the man was killed by police, a transcript released Monday showed.

The unidentified caller told the dispatcher that the man, later identified as Thurman Blevins Jr., had fired at least two shots into the air and the ground and appeared drunk. The caller added, “You gotta move … before he shoots somebody!”

Officers Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt are on paid administrative leave as an investigation continues into the June 23 shooting death of Blevins, 31. Authorities said both officers fired their weapons after chasing Blevins into an alley. Investigators have said Kelly and Ryan were responding to at least one report of a man firing a handgun, and that a gun was recovered at the scene. But some witnesses said Blevins was carrying a bottle or a cup.

Email newsletter signup

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the shooting, said a black and silver gun was recovered from the scene.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has ordered the release of body camera video, but only after Blevins’ family is consulted and the bureau finishes interviewing key witnesses.

The 911 transcript tracked with the earlier police account of why they were summoned to the scene, but added some detail.

The caller told police “there’s a guy walking around shooting off his gun and he looks intoxicated and um, that’s just not safe around here.” The caller described the man and his weapon, “a silver 9 millimeter” that was chrome at the top. After the second shot, the caller said, “everybody started running away.”

Minneapolis has been rocked by two high-profile fatal police shootings in recent years, including the November 2015 shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark and last July’s shooting of 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Officers in the Clark case were not charged, and trial is pending for the officer who shot Damond.