MPD, witnesses differ on accounts of motorcycle accident that killed Ivan Romero [PHOTOS]
"His girlfriend was on the back of the bike -- the person that he loves the most in his life," a friend of Ivan's told WCCO. "He's not going to be reckless with that."
Jocelin Torrejon (left) and Ivan Romero
Last night, an MPD news release provided officers' account of the tragic Friday afternoon accident that killed 24-year-old Minneapolis resident Ivan Romero and left his girlfriend, Jocelin Torrejon, injured.
But the MPD's account differs from what witnesses have said about the chain of events that led to a squad car and Romero's motorcycle colliding while police rushed to apprehend 22-year-old burglary suspect Terrence Franklin, who was later involved in an altercation with two cops who were shot with their own guns inside a home at 2717 Bryant Avenue South. Franklin was ultimately shot and killed himself.
Here's what the MPD news release has to say about the fatal motorcycle accident:
Initial reports from independent witness accounts, accident reconstruction, and video review show that the involved squad was travelling well below the posted speed limit as it approached the intersection and at the time of impact. It is clear from video evidence that the motorcycle struck the rear passenger side of the squad car as it proceeded through the intersection with red lights and siren both activated.
That account differs from what media outlets, citing witnesses, have reported. For instance, consider this report from the Star Tribune:
According to witnesses, Torrejon, the female passenger, was injured when the police SUV hit the back of the bike, throwing both riders off.
And here's WCCO's report, which differs from both the MPD's account and from what the Strib reported:
[S]ources told WCCO that the motorcycle hit the back passenger side of the SUV, which was going through the intersection on a red light with lights and sirens at 50 mph.
A Fox 9's report published this morning cites Romero's friends and pins pretty much all the blame for the accident on police:
Ivan's family friends tell FOX 9 the officer was speeding, rushing to get to the police shooting on Bryant Avenue South on Friday. They told FOX 9 the officer did not have his sirens on.
Meanwhile, the MPD news release also identifies the two officers who were shot during the altercation with Franklin -- 7-year veteran officer Michael Meath and 11-year veteran officer Ricardo Muro. Those two, along with Torrejon, remain in "satisfactory" condition at HCMC.
The news release also acknowledges what KSTP first reported: That Meath and Muro were shot by a police-issued firearm. (KSTP is now reporting the officers were shot in the legs.) From the MPD (emphasis ours):
Preliminary indications are that the suspect was involved in an intense physical altercation with officers, including a K9. At some point during the altercation the suspect tried to gain control of an officer's firearm, which is an MP5. Shots were fired during the struggle. Exactly who fired and how many times has not yet been determined. Autopsy results from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner are still pending as are forensics tests from evidence recovered in this case. Both are critical in helping our investigators gain a complete and accurate picture of what transpired yesterday afternoon.
Finally, some social media photos of Terrence Franklin are circulating around the internet. Here's one:
Franklin's family told Fox 9 yesterday they hadn't yet been allowed to see Terrence's body are in disbelief that a seemingly "good person" with a 4-year-old son would die in a shootout with the cops.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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