Editorial Roundup: A day to mourn losses, again, among those who protect and serve

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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A beautiful winter morning in the Twin Cities — a day made for churchgoing, sledding with kids and quiet walks in the bright sun — was marred before it even could begin when tragedy struck in Burnsville.

Two of the city’s police officers and a first responder were shot and killed Sunday after they answered a domestic abuse call. Another person who was wounded was recovering after surgery. The suspected shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Star Tribune reported.

Details were sketchy as this editorial was being written and news conferences were being planned. In the days ahead we’ll learn more about the horror that unfolded in a residential neighborhood of the typically quiet south metro suburb.

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And we’ll learn more about some of the lives forever changed — those of the shattered families and friends of the victims and of the shooter. Just don’t expect it to ever make sense. Don’t expect to be able to answer the question that will be asked again and again on behalf of those who died: Why?

There are others still asking that question in the wake of the eight other incidents over the past 10 months in which law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded by gunfire within or just beyond Minnesota’s borders.

Today we have new images from the ninth. Police officers and public officials from around the metro standing vigil as the bodies of the slain officers and medical responder were transported from Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis to the medical examiner’s office in Minnetonka.

A police sergeant leaving HCMC with an American flag under his arm; a SWAT vehicle with its windshield shattered by bullets — images that remind us of what can happen to those brave enough to run into danger to help others.

A Jan. 23 Star Tribune editorial recounted a Minneapolis incident in which police arrested a man who had been holding a grandmother and child at gunpoint. Charges alleged that the suspect shot in the direction of five officers as they went up a staircase in tactical formation, yet they did not return fire.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara thanked the officers involved in the arrest for their courage and “extreme restraint” and expressed gratitude “that this situation did not turn out much more dangerous and even deadly than it was.”

Just a few weeks later, on Sunday at HCMC, O’Hara joined the tribute for those killed in Burnsville. “Our prayers go out to Chief Tanya Schwartz, all the police and their families affected by this horror,” he told the Star Tribune.

As the state lowers its flags to half staff on Monday, we hope Minnesotans will take time to reflect on the lives lost in the line of duty on Sunday. And, for those so moved, to say a prayer.

As police officers and first responders across the state return to work during what is sure to be an especially challenging week of mourning, may they find strength in knowing that their fellow citizens are thankful for all that they do to serve, protect and save lives.

— Star Tribune, Feb. 18

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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