‘True to his oath’: Murdered Minneapolis officer remembered for heroism

Flags were at half-staff across Minnesota on Friday, a day after a Minneapolis police officer was fatally shot while responding to a call.

Officer Jamal Mitchell, 36, was one of at least three people shot and killed during the incident in Minneapolis’ Whittier neighborhood early Thursday evening. The suspected shooter was among the dead. At least four other people, including a police officer and a firefighter, were injured.

Mitchell is the first MPD officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty in more than 20 years. Speaking to reporters Thursday evening, Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Katie Blackwell said he was an outstanding officer.

Law enforcement officers salute the flag-draped casket of Minneapolis police officer Jamal Mitchell as his body is escorted Thursday to a waiting medical examiner’s vehicle outside HCMC in Minneapolis.

Aaron Lavinsky | Star Tribune via AP

“He was courageous in every action he took,” Blackwell said. “He was a wonderful human being. He had only been with us for a year and a half and he was exceptional in every way.

“Hero, son, father”

Mitchell joined the force in 2022 and made a name for himself early. In February 2023, he was recognized for helping an elderly couple escape a burning house in Minneapolis.

“He was a hero, a son, a father, a fiancé and an officer so deeply committed to protecting and serving that he ran toward danger while the rest of us ran in the other direction,” the mayor said. Minneapolis, Jacob Frey. .

Photos of a cop-2

Minneapolis police officer Jamal Mitchell (right) is seen after helping save two people from a burning house in February 2023. Mitchell was fatally shot while responding to a call on Thursday.

Minneapolis Police Department

Mitchell was one of several police and emergency personnel who responded to a report of a double shooting near 22nd Street and Blaisdell Avenue just after 5 p.m. The chaotic scene spanned several blocks, and investigators said Thursday evening they were still working to determine what happened. .

According to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans, Mitchell found an injured person about a block from the apartment and stopped to help. He was “ambushed” and shot while trying to provide medical aid, investigators said.

The officers returned fire. The suspect was injured and died at the scene. The name of this person has not been released.

In the apartment where police were initially called, officers found two people shot. One of them was clearly dead at the scene; Another was taken to hospital with his life in danger. Outside the building, emergency responders found a seriously injured man in a vehicle and transported him to hospital.

Another police officer and a firefighter were shot and injured. They were both treated at hospital and released overnight.

Police cars on a street

Law enforcement gathered Thursday evening on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis following nearby shootings that left three people dead, including a police officer.

Ben Hovland | MPR News

Evans said officials believe they know who the suspect is and will release more information soon. As of Friday morning, officials said there have been no arrests in connection with the shooting. They also said there was no ongoing threat to the public.

Law enforcement closed several blocks of Blaisdell Avenue, from Franklin Avenue to 24th Street, following Thursday evening’s shooting. Besides police and fire, the FBI, Minnesota BCA and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office were among other agencies that responded. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Division St. Paul Field said its agents also responded to the scene.

“True to his oath”

Governor. Tim Walz ordered flags flown at half-staff Friday in Mitchell’s honor. Speaking to reporters Thursday evening, Walz offered his condolences to Mitchell’s family and thanked first responders.

“It’s really hard work, and it’s really hard with a lot of guns on the street,” Walz said. “Their families deserve to know they are coming home.” My deepest condolences and our absolute commitment that this cannot be the norm. »

Governor.  Walz lowers his head during a press conference

Governor. Tim Walz speaks at a news conference in Minneapolis Thursday evening.

Ben Hovland | MPR News

Thursday’s shooting was the second in the state this year to claim the life of a first responder. Burnsville police officers Matthew Ruge and Paul Elmstrand and firefighter paramedic Adam Finseth were killed in February while responding to a domestic violence call.

Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters said Mitchell’s service will be remembered forever.

“The law enforcement community is devastated and grieving,” Peters said. “This officer has demonstrated unparalleled dedication, bravery and service in defense of the public. “Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends and fellow officers as they navigate this incredibly difficult time.”

The Minnesota BCA and the Minneapolis Police Department are continuing to investigate. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner will release the names of the remaining deceased.

A white paper heart with flowers

A sign reading, “Thank you for your service, Officer Mitchell. I’m so sorry,” was placed at the scene of the Minneapolis shooting Friday.

Estelle Tilmar-Wilcox | MPR News

In a statement released Friday morning, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara said he knew Mitchell and remembered honoring him for saving the elderly couple from the fire last year last.

“Jamal died doing what society asks all police officers to do. He did his job and he remained true to his oath until his death,” O’Hara wrote. “There is no more honorable service that one can render.”

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