4 Arrested, 1 Released after masked gunmen shot Five people near Black Lives Matter encampment
Racial tensions boiled over Monday night when several men shot five people near the Black Lives Matter encampment at the Fourth Precinct police station in north Minneapolis.
The victims, all black men — ages 19 through 43 — were taken to hospitals with noncritical injuries, according to police.
The shootings occurred at 10:45 p.m. on Morgan Avenue N. about a block north of the precinct station.
Black Lives Matter demonstrators have camped the Fourth Precinct for more than a week after 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot dead by a police officer during a scuffle on November 15.
The fatal shooting of Mr. Clark has led to a series of tense standoffs outside the Fourth Precinct police station.
On Tuesday afternoon, NBC News reported two men have been arrested.
The search for other suspects continued.
Initially, police had said they were hunting for three white suspects.
Activists said the shooters were white supremacists wearing ski masks and bulletproof vests, yelling racial slurs, before shooting several bullets into the crowd, striking protesters in the legs and arms.
Minneapolis’ Black Lives Matter group were among dozens claiming on Twitter that the shooters were “white supremacists.”
“What happened last night was a planned hate crime,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.
Asked about the allegations swirling on social media, Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said it was “way too early in this investigation” to make a statement about claims the shooters were white supremacists.
“I have heard a dozen different theories, and as part of our investigation we will investigate every one of these until we can ascertain which one is applicable,” he told NBC News.
Black Lives Matter Minneapolis chided the police Tuesday for not protecting protesters.
“We reiterate that we have zero faith in this police department’s desire to keep us safe,” the group said.
1 of 4 shooting suspects released
The Star Tribune reports Minneapolis police said they arrested a 23-year-old white man in Bloomington at 11:20 a.m. Tuesday.
The second shooting suspect, a 32-year-old Hispanic man, arrested in south Minneapolis at 12:05 p.m. has been released.
About 2:30 p.m., two other men turned themselves in, police said, saying they were white, one age 26 and another age 21. They were being interviewed by investigators, officials added.
On Tuesday afternoon, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis held a rally outside the Fourth Precinct police station before gathering several hundred protesters to march to City Hall in downtown Minneapolis. Another large group of activists remained outside the police station.
After the arrest, Mayor Betsy Hodges said she is proud police are making arrests in “last night’s abhorrent shooting.”
“We are sparing no efforts to bring any and all those responsible to justice,” Hodges added.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau said on Twitter that the officers are “true professionals” and noted that “MPD worked nonstop through the night to bring justice in last night’s shooting.”