Minneapolis police officer shoots and kills man in early morning raid

By: and - February 2, 2022 1:16 pm

The scene outside Bolero Flats Apartment Homes in downtown Minneapolis where Amir Locke shot and killed by Minneapolis police on Feb. 2, 2022. Photo by Claude Peck.

A Minneapolis police officer shot and killed an armed Black man in a downtown apartment on Wednesday morning while executing a search warrant in connection with a St. Paul homicide investigation. 

Civil rights attorney and activist Nekima Levy Armstrong posted on Facebook Wednesday that she received a call from Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman Wednesday morning informing her that a Black man had been shot and killed by police. She said other activists were also notified.

Levy Armstrong later identified the man as Amir Locke, a man in his early 20s. She wrote on Facebook that the man’s family told her he had a permit to carry and was not named on the warrant. She said his family told her that he did not live in the apartment but was staying there with a family member.

City officials have not confirmed the identity of the man and said the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the identity along with the nature and cause of death.

The shooting occurred just blocks from the courthouse where former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd. Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests over police brutality. Three other officers who were on the scene with Chauvin are currently on trial in federal court.

“Any officer-involved shooting is a tragic incident,” Huffman said during a news conference. “This is the call that no police chief ever wants to receive.”

Huffman just stepped into the role as interim chief in mid-January, replacing former Chief Medaria Arradondo. She first offered condolences to the family of the victim.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends who loved the man who lost his life today, and with the community because these events are a wrenching loss or traumatic for those who not only who knew him, but everyone who lives in Minneapolis and for the officers who were on the scene as well,” she said.

The shooting occurred at about 6:48 a.m. in the Bolero Flats Apartment Homes building on Marquette Avenue between 11th and 12th streets, where Huffman said a SWAT team was executing a search warrant on the seventh floor of the building. 

Huffman said they were assisting the St. Paul Police Department and “loudly and repeatedly announced ‘police search warrant’” as they entered an apartment using a key fob. 

Nine seconds after police entered the apartment, they encountered a man with a handgun in his hand, “pointed in the direction of officers,” and “shots were fired” and the man was struck, according to an MPD statement released later Wednesday. Huffman said one MPD officer fired; MPD later identified him as Mark Hanneman. 

The man was shot three times, twice in the chest and once in the wrist, according to an incident report from the Fire Department released on Wednesday.

A handgun loaded with 5.7-mm rounds was recovered in the apartment, Huffman said. The MPD press release described the gun as “the suspect’s gun,” although it wasn’t clear what the man was suspected of. 

The officers immediately provided medical attention to the man who was shot and carried him to paramedics. The paramedics continued to “render aid” as he was transported to Hennepin Healthcare, where he was pronounced dead.

The Minneapolis Police Department released this photo of what was described as “the suspect’s gun” loaded with 5.7 mm rounds after the Feb. 2 shooting of a man in downtown Minneapolis.

Huffman did not specify if the man who was killed was a suspect in the homicide investigation.

As is standard in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the police shooting, which is why Huffman said she could not take questions from reporters.

“We need to respect their work,” she said. “And the homicide investigation is in the hands of the St. Paul Police Department, who continues to work on that case.”

While leaving the press conference, Huffman was asked if she’d seen body camera video footage of the shooting and said she had. 

“We will do our best to get more information out to folks as soon as possible, including potentially photos or videos as we work through the necessary steps with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension,” she said earlier.

Mayor Jacob Frey briefly addressed the press before Huffman, saying resources will be provided to people who “are undoubtedly experiencing quite a bit of trauma.” 

“Truth and transparency, as is always the case, will be the guiding principles as the investigation itself is conducted,” Frey said.

But activists say Frey and city officials have failed to be transparent. Levy Armstrong and other activists held a news conference on Wednesday evening outside the apartment building where the man was killed to call on police to release the body camera footage of the incident along with details about the warrant they were executing.

“We have no information from them about what even this warrant consisted of and why it was so urgent to bust into someone’s apartment in the wee hours of the morning,” Levy Armstrong said.

She criticized the police for moving into the apartment so swiftly.

“When I heard that the young man was armed in this situation, my first question was, does that justify the use of deadly force?” Levy Armstrong said. “I, too, am a licensed gun owner and if someone showed up at my house at six-something in the morning and I did not expect them to be there, I can not guarantee that my hand wouldn’t be on my gun.”

Armstrong said other activists and organizers from groups such as Black Lives Matter and the NAACP also were contacted by MPD about the police shooting. Armstrong says MPD became “more intentional” about reaching out to people such as her during Arradondo’s tenure. 

Minneapolis City Council Member Jamal Osman took to Twitter to say he found it  “disrespectful” that he — the only Somali member of the council — wasn’t informed of the police shooting when activists were.

“That’s NOT acceptable!” he wrote.

Levy Armstrong first said the man was possibly Somali but the family later told her he was not Somali.

This story is developing and may be updated.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs.

Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.