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Minneapolis police release bodycam of shooting that killed Officer Jamal Mitchell

“All Jamal was trying to do was help somebody. He was very suddenly, and without provocation, ambushed and assassinated.”

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By Liz Sawyer
Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — Jamal Mitchell never hesitated.

When the Minneapolis police officer happened upon a man lying in the street last month, he immediately stopped his squad car and rushed to render aid. Mitchell pulled on rubber gloves and approached an individual he believed was wounded.

“Who shot you? Who shot you?” Mitchell asked, preparing to treat the bloodied man.

Without a word, the man rolled over and swung a pistol toward Mitchell with his finger on the trigger, according to newly released body-worn camera footage. He shot Mitchell at close range — and continued firing even after Mitchell fell to the ground — though the redacted footage cuts out before any rounds are actually discharged.

Less than five minutes later, responding officers killed the armed assailant, later identified as 35-year-old Mustafa Ahmed Mohamed , during an exchange of gunfire.

“Officer Mitchell never even had a chance to draw his handgun,” Chief Brian O’Hara said in a Friday news conference, as he walked reporters through video, which corroborated earlier accounts of the mass shooting in Minneapolis’ Whittier neighborhood on May 30 that killed four people and wounded three others.

“All Jamal was trying to do was help somebody... He did absolutely nothing wrong,” O’Hara emphasized, becoming emotional. “He was very suddenly, and without provocation, ambushed and assassinated.”

The initial 911 call came in around 5:15 p.m. , after a woman discovered her boyfriend unresponsive from a gunshot wound to the head in their south Minneapolis apartment. Another man lay dead in the kitchen.

It’s still not clear what led up to the rampage, which spilled outside and down the block.

In the chaotic moments preceding the officers’ arrival, Mohamed apparently attempted to steal a random man’s electric scooter on Blaisdell Avenue . A passing Subaru driver reported intentionally ramming Mohamed, likely breaking his leg, before fleeing the scene. Multiple witnesses saw Mohamed lying in the street firing upon motorists, including a man with his 2-year-old son in the backseat.

Mitchell, riding solo while working overtime that evening, jumped out of his squad car when he spotted Mohamed and another person in the road. “It looks like we have at least two victims outside at the location, bleeding,” he relayed to dispatch before getting out of the squad.

Seconds later, as he asked a woman on the sidewalk where the other victims were, Mohamed raised the gun, his finger on the trigger.

Minneapolis police also released body camera videos from two other responding officers, which depict the frantic search for the active shooter and their fallen colleague.

Officer Luke Kittock jumped out of his squad car gripping a long gun as sirens blared around him. “Where?! Where’s the guy shooting?” he demanded, running to consult a group of panicked bystanders in a nearby parking lot. They appeared to point toward a figure in the street and Kittock, who took cover behind an SUV, unloaded a flurry of rounds in Mohamed’s direction.

At one point, you can see blood dripping from his right hand, still clasping the rifle.

“He’s down,” Kittock eventually yells, before officers swarm to disarm Mohamed. They instruct someone to grab handcuffs as they discuss whether there might be an additional gunman.

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Kittock and an unidentified firefighter were both wounded during the brief gun battle. Investigators seized a jammed Glock-26, equipped with an extended magazine, from the scene.

Footage of armed man’s killing also released Minneapolis police also released footage Friday of a deadly police encounter on the city’s southside last week that killed a 39-year-old Bloomington man.

Around 9:30 p.m. on June 12 , officers responded to the Longfellow neighborhood on a report of a man carrying a handgun and acting erratically. The suspect, Michael Warren Ristow , fled police, leading them on a foot chase down Hiawatha and through a commercial parking lot.

Officers identified themselves and repeatedly ordered Ristow to stop, body camera footage shows, before he eventually hit a dead end in front of a fence.

“Don’t! Drop the gun. Drop it!” officer Enoch Langford could be heard yelling.

“Get away from me,” Ristow replies.

“Drop the gun!” Officer Chaz Wilson repeats.

“Get away,” Ristow says again. Just as he turned toward officers with a firearm in his right hand,, three officers opened fire.

O’Hara told the media that Ristow’s gun appeared to have jammed. He called it a “justifiable and lawful” use of force.

“I believe the actions displayed by our officers in these instances were reasonable and necessary considering the threats that were being posed,” O’Hara reiterated Friday, flanked by his command staff. “Our police officers performed courageously to protect our community.”

In addition to Ristow’s handgun, investigators with the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) later collected a bloodied backpack he is seen wearing in the video. Inside, they found two magazines filled with 9mm ammunition and a spent casing, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in court Thursday.

Nearly 20 cartridge casings, fired from police-issued handguns, also littered the parking lot.

Both shootings remain under investigation by the BCA.

Minnesota law requires that police agencies release body camera footage within 14 days of a deadly encounter, unless doing so would interfere with an ongoing investigation.

O’Hara agreed to temporarily withhold the footage in the Mitchell shooting at the BCA’s request because, they said, releasing it might hinder its investigation. Yesterday, the law enforcement agencies came to an agreement that they were now comfortable with its public disclosure.

“My approach has been, and will always be, to make these videos available as soon as we possibly can, as fast as is appropriate,” O’Hara said. “We have no further investigative reason for delay in the June 12 [Ristow] case.”

Star Tribune staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report.

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