By DOUG GLASS
Police said they believe there was more than one shooter, described only as “individuals on foot.” No one was in custody, and police have not said what may have prompted the shooting. All of the injured were adults.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said during a Sunday press conference that it was “tragic and senseless violence” and called the recent uptick in violent crime a public health crisis. He said “we absolutely do have several leads” on suspects and are getting assistance from the FBI and state agencies.
In video posted to Facebook that showed the immediate aftermath, screams could be heard as small crowds of people gathered, with some crouched over people lying on the pavement before police officers on bicycles showed up to attend to them.
Fred Hwang, a manager at Hoban Korean BBQ, said he was working the front door when he heard shots from the sidewalk a couple of storefronts down. Hwang described hearing “a lot of shots” and said it appeared to be groups of people shooting at each other.
“People were trying to rush inside the restaurant for safety,” he said. “It was a very scary experience. … We have bullet holes inside our restaurant like on the walls and stuff. All of our front glass was broken and shattered. Then, just like people being in here panicking and running around, breaking this or that, it was very chaotic.”
Across the street from where the shooting began, in a storefront shared by the Uptown Theater and a shoe store, a police officer later Sunday surveyed a shattered window and door and a bullet hole could be seen in the storefront.
The Uptown area is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) west of the Minneapolis commercial area and neighborhood hit by rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death after being arrested by Minneapolis police. Some of the violence from that period reached as far as Uptown, and many storefronts are still protected by plywood.
Floyd’s death has sparked a move to overhaul the Minneapolis Police Department, with a majority of City Council members pledging support for dismantling a department that many community activists have called brutal and racist. That’s prompted pushback from opponents who question how residents will be protected from violent crime. Even the most aggressive proponents for change have acknowledged it’s many months away and they’re not sure what it will look like.
Hwang was critical of the police response time, estimating it took officers more than 30 minutes to arrive. However, police spokesman John Elder told The Associated Press that police converged on the area within three minutes of a 12:38 a.m. call being put out by officers stating that they had heard shots in the area.
“Something needs to be done to protect us,” Hwang said. “Normally the bars on Saturday night, we all have off-duty police officers as extra security parked in front of our businesses. But no one has that right now because police are a liability for us.”
Police responded to at least two other shootings in south Minneapolis in the hour before the Uptown violence erupted. The Star Tribune reported that one was a man who may have shot himself near the site where Floyd died. Another was a nonfatal double shooting. Elder told the newspaper that angry crowds at both scenes impeded officers.
Associated Press writer Mallika Sen in New York contributed to this report.
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