Six-hour standoff in Minneapolis ends with arrest of armed robbery suspect

A screaming standoff in a residential neighborhood Wednesday morning brought dozens of heavily armed police officers.

A screaming standoff in a residential neighborhood Wednesday morning brought dozens of heavily armed police officers. Hakim Bey

At about 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, Minneapolis Police received a report of an armed robbery at 30th and Upton Avenue North. The victim said the mugger ran into a nearby house. When police arrived, the man refused to come out.

So began a six-hour standoff, involving dozens of heavily armed officers from the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, and the University of Minnesota Police Department. Crisis negotiators were brought in to negotiate with the suspect as he barricaded himself inside the house, according to Minneapolis Police.

Across the street, neighbor Hakim Bey, a 40-year resident of north Minneapolis, livestreamed the incident, providing his own commentary as he recorded police firing what appeared to be non-lethal rounds at the man in the house.

For several minutes, the man screamed, “I’m shot, I’m shot,” and “I need medical assistance.”

He demanded that police drop their weapons and send a doctor. Police responded that a doctor was present down the block, but couldn’t come up to house. The negotiator ordered the man to come out and lay on the sidewalk so he could be given medical attention. 

“The suspect claimed numerous times to the police that he had guns in the house. He claimed to have a 22, a 45, and an AK-47. The suspect even brandished a knife during this incident,” said MPD spokesman John Elder. “The suspect challenged the police on a number of occasions stating: ‘I’m armed. Bring it on,’ and similar statements. The suspect exited and re-entered the house a number of times.”

Elder said a relative of the man arrived on scene and told police that he had been “doing sticks” and “smoking wet,” referring to cigarettes dipped in embalming fluid, PCP, or other liquid.

Around 2:50 p.m., the man emerged through a window in the back of the house. SWAT officers ran up and commanded him to the ground. According to police, the man didn’t comply, and a dog was sent in.

The man was held on the ground by multiple officers for more than 10 minutes. It’s unclear why, though Elder said that these situations often necessitate immediate medical treatment. He was later taken to the hospital with “minor injuries,” and booked in jail on suspicion of aggravated robbery.

"The individual in question actually, he does that regularly," said the neighbor, Bey.

"He’ll come outside of his front door and he’ll kind of just … he likes to talk to people. He’s very helpful and a nice person, really. When it was snowing, he was outside pushing people’s cars out of the ice, going up and down the street helping people shovel. But at the same time, we know he has chemical imbalances. He likes to scream and yell."

Bey says he wants to apologize for insulting the police in his video, but criticized the level of force employed to take down one man in crisis. 

"The things that I saw, I felt there was just a lack of compassion. And it goes hand in hand with the police not living in the neighborhood. If you don’t live in the same neighborhood of the people who police, you’re numb to the trauma and turmoil of the community."

By Thursday morning, police were still executing a search warrant of the house, and had found a loaded .45 caliber handgun. Minneapolis Police supervisors will review the use of force in this incident.