By Kristi Belcamino and Mara Gottfried
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A man was shot and killed after he fired at St. Paul police officers who pulled him over on suspicion of carjacking Sunday afternoon.
During the shootout, a stray bullet or shrapnel grazed a teenage boy who then fled into a neighbor's yard to seek help. Police said his injuries were not life-threatening.
Police did not release the suspect's identity Sunday.
It was the second officer-involved shooting in less than a week in St. Paul.
Officers at the scene all had black bands around their badges in memory of officer Scott Patrick of Mendota Heights, who was killed last week by a fugitive who opened fire during a traffic stop.
The man crashed his vehicle into a fence at the Oakland Cemetery near the intersection of Cook and Jackson streets about 4 p.m., said police Sgt. Paul Paulos. He allegedly then fired at a gun at bystanders before carjacking a silver SUV at gunpoint and fleeing with its two occupants.
Police spotted him on West Minnehaha Avenue and attempted a high-risk stop. When he was pulled over near Arundel Street, he immediately opened fire on police, who returned fire. During the shootout, a teenage boy walking with his friend on Minnehaha was caught in the crossfire. He was injured, possibly struck by a stray bullet or shrapnel that grazed his stomach.
The teen and his friend took off running, leaping over fences and through yards until they ended up in the garage at a house on Van Buren Avenue.
Chris Ellis was working in his garage when the teenager ran inside.
"He ran in and said, 'I've been shot,' " Ellis said. "He had a hole in his shirt. I had him lift it up and saw there was no exit wound. I grabbed the phone and called 911 and sat with him to make sure he wasn't bleeding out."
Ellis said he just tried to comfort the boy, whom he described as "terrified."
"I set him on the lawn furniture and held his hand until the cops showed up," Ellis said.
Witnesses told Tom Walters, who lives nearby, that the man got out of his vehicle and opened fire on the police.
Andy Gilbertson said the gunfire sounded like it came from an automatic weapon. He came outside and saw several police running toward the silver SUV with the shattered window.
Sunday's case was the second attack on St. Paul police officers in less than 24 hours, said Dave Titus, St. Paul Police Federation president.
A man tried to disarm a uniformed St. Paul officer working off-duty at the SuperAmerica at East Seventh and Wall streets about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Titus said. The officer fended off the man, and backup arrived and was able to take him into custody, he said.
"We're not accustomed to this number of critical incidents in a short period of time, but our officers have performed at an extremely high level," Titus said Sunday.
At least 16 crime-scene markers, most surrounding a pool of blood in the middle of the street, remained in place hours after the shooting.
At least two officers suffered minor injuries and were treated and released Sunday night. Four officers were involved in the incident and were placed on standard three-day leave according to department policy.
Noting the recent officer-involved shootings in the city, Paulos wanted to remind the public of the dangers of policing. "Our least favorite thing to do is to take a life," he said.
Copyright 2014 the Pioneer Press
McClatchy-Tribune News Service