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Bodycam video: Minneapolis police snipers say they saw gun before shooting Andrew Tekle Sundberg

Authorities say the snipers, posted on a building roof across the street, shot Sundberg early Thursday morning, July 14, less than a minute after allegedly threatening to shoot officers.

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Friends and supporters gather for a vigil to remember Andrew Tekle Sundberg on July 14 in Minneapolis. Sundberg was shot and killed by Minneapolis police snipers after a six-hour standoff.
Ben Hovland / MPR News
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis authorities on Wednesday released selected police body camera footage of the standoff that ended with police snipers shooting 20-year-old Andrew Tekle Sundberg — including harrowing video of officers rescuing a woman and her two toddlers from a hallway moments after gunshots came through their apartment walls.

The released videos don’t provide a view of what the snipers saw, but in one video the officers can be heard describing what they believe to be a gun in Sundberg's hand shortly before they shoot.

Authorities say the snipers, posted on a building roof across the street, shot Sundberg early Thursday morning, July 14, less than a minute after allegedly threatening to shoot officers.

As they released the footage of last week’s standoff, Mayor Jacob Frey and Amelia Huffman, the interim police chief, added little information, citing the ongoing state investigation. They declined to explain or narrate what was on the video, although Frey praised the police rescue of the mother and her children.

Frey said he and Huffman could not speak to why the police shot at that point, again citing the ongoing investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

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Andrew Tekle Sundberg.
Courtesy / Attorney Jeff Storms via MPR News

Asked who gave the order to shoot Sundberg, Huffman said officers do not need prior authorization to shoot if they are protecting their lives or the lives of others.

Sundberg’s family viewed the videos prior to their release. In a statement, the family’s attorney said Sundberg’s parents “continue to send their deepest sympathies to all of those impacted by Tekle’s mental health crisis.”

‘I’m not hit but they’re shooting through the door’

The videos released Wednesday included the body camera footage from an officer responding to the shots fired call. In the video, the officer can be seen and heard yelling “police” and knocking on the metal hallway door from the building’s stairwell.

Gunshots pierce the quiet, the officer draws his weapon and retreats to call in “shots fired.” As other officers come up the stairwell, he yells, “I’m not hit but they’re shooting through the door.”

Yelling “police,” several officers open the door from the stairwell to the hallway. The video shows a woman, later identified as neighbor Arabella Foss-Yarbrough, peek through the hall door. Police pull her out of the hallway. Her children come running out of the apartment and the officers herd them out and down the stairwell.

The next released footage shows Sundberg hanging out the third-floor apartment window. Officers tell him to come out the apartment door with his hands up, that he’s under arrest. “We don’t want to hurt you, we just want to go home,” one officer calls out to Sundberg.

Sundberg can be heard speaking but the audio is unintelligible. He goes back into the apartment. Two more gunshots can be heard.

Video from one of the police snipers’ body camera show the officer identifying a gun, then apparently firing on Sundberg.

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There are no current camera angles of Sundberg's actions at these times, a police spokesperson said. Authorities are asking anyone with additional video to contact the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the police shooting.

Negotiators spent more than six hours trying to call Sundberg's phone and used a loudspeaker throughout the night to urge him to surrender.

Sundberg lived in the apartment building where the standoff happened. His family says he was having a mental health crisis. On Sunday, they called for the police to release body camera footage.

The officers involved are on paid administrative leave according to an MPD spokesperson.

‘Tactical decisions’

Beyond the video, the city of Minneapolis released documents Wednesday showing how the standoff between law enforcement and Sundberg developed from late Wednesday into Thursday morning last week.

According to the log of emergency response to the scene, the first radio call came in at 9:34 p.m. Wednesday. A 911 caller said someone was shooting into her apartment.

About seven minutes later, emergency radio calls indicated more shots had been fired. Law enforcement officers radioed in to say they were bringing equipment, including an armored vehicle to the scene.

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Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks during a press conference Wednesday, July 20, 2022, releasing police body camera footage in the July 14 shooting of Andrew Tekle Sundberg. Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman stands next to him.
Jon Collins / MPR News

About a half hour after the initial 911 call, police reported having a description of Sundberg, and seeing him hanging out the window with a liquor bottle in his hand, then “appearing to take a selfie.” Police said that officers inside the apartment building should not initiate contact and a team reported that Sundberg fired through the door.

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Shortly before 10:30 p.m., police officers obtained Sundberg’s name and phone number, which was passed on to negotiators, who were apparently unsuccessful in reaching him.

At 11:41 p.m., police reported that Sundberg was on the phone with his mom. They said Sundberg appeared to be trying to speak with the police drone, but officers apparently couldn’t make out what he was saying.

Shortly before midnight, police reported seeing Sundberg standing on the ledge of the third-floor window and yelling. According to the log, some thought he may jump.

Sundberg’s parents arrived at about 12:30 a.m. According to police, parents said Sundberg had a pistol for about six months. Police sent video of Sundberg’s dad to him.

The log indicates that at 1:30 a.m., after numerous attempts to contact Sundberg without success, police decided to make “tactical decisions” if they couldn’t reach him.

Shortly before 3 a.m, negotiators tried to reach Sundberg, but they said he turned his music up repeatedly. According to the log, police announced and then fired 40 mm “less lethal” rounds to break out the window and take the curtains down.

As police prepared to use gas, they said Sundberg appeared back in the window, talking on the phone, and being “very uncooperative” with an officer.

At 4:18 a.m., the radio reports that he is “threatening to shoot” officers and “breaking out more of the windows.”

About 50 seconds later, the radio reports shots fired. At first, officers apparently wondered if Sundberg had fired on himself. However, they soon determined that the shots were fired by “Sierra 1 and 2,” likely referring to the snipers who fired from across the street.

Officers entered the apartment less than a minute later, and reported that medics were providing medical aid soon after.

Sundberg was transported to Hennepin Healthcare, where he was later declared dead. From the initial 911 call to the time shots were reportedly fired at Sundberg, six hours, 44 minutes, and 25 seconds had elapsed.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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