What To Know About The Minnesota Shooting That Killed 2 Police Officers And A Firefighter

Taylor Jacobs, center, who was with Burnsville Police for 10 years, embraced members of the department's honor guard Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 outside the Ballad-Sunder Funeral and Cremation in Jordan, Minn. Two young police officers and a firefighter-paramedic were killed in a burst of gunfire Sunday as they responded to a domestic disturbance call in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville. Another officer also was injured, and the man identified as the shooter fatally shot himself, police said. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)
Taylor Jacobs, center, who was with Burnsville Police for 10 years, embraced members of the department's honor guard Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 outside the Ballad-Sunder Funeral and Cremation in Jordan, Minn. Two young police officers and a firefighter-paramedic were killed in a burst of gunfire Sunday as they responded to a domestic disturbance call in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville. Another officer also was injured, and the man identified as the shooter fatally shot himself, police said. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Investigators are still piecing together what happened when two police officers and a firefighter were slain while responding to a domestic incident at home in suburban Minneapolis.

The three were killed early Sunday by a man who began shooting from the home in Burnsville, a city of around 64,000 that's about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of downtown Minneapolis, investigators say. Seven children were inside.

The fallen first responders were Burnsville Police Officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both 27, and Adam Finseth, 40, a firefighter and paramedic who was assigned to the city’s SWAT team. A third officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott, was wounded and is recovering at home.

The gunman, Shannon Gooden, 38, of Burnsville, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the medical examiner said. Court records show he wasn’t legally allowed to have guns because of his criminal record and had been entangled in a yearslong dispute over the custody and financial support of his three oldest children.

Here's a look at what's known — and not known — about the shootings:

WHAT'S KNOWN

Police got a 911 call around 1:50 a.m. Sunday about a “domestic situation where a man was reported to be armed and barricaded with family members in the home,” according to Drew Evans, superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is leading the investigation. That included seven children ages 2 to 15 years. Evans declined to say which resident called.

The arriving officers “spent quite a bit of time” negotiating with Gooden, Evans told reporters Sunday. At some point — he declined to specify when — Gooden opened fire.

Gooden was “reported to be deceased in the home” around 8 a.m., Evans said, and the children and other family members were later able to escape. The superintendent declined to say how long officers negotiated with him.

WHAT ISN'T KNOWN

Because the case is still under investigation, the BCA hasn't released more than broad outlines of what transpired. That's common in major cases as investigators gather evidence. But that also leaves major gaps in the narrative.

Evans declined to say what kind of weapons Gooden had, except that investigators found “several guns and large amounts of ammunition.”

Authorities haven't said how Gooden obtained the guns. Court records show the state barred him from possessing firearms after he pleaded guilty in 2008, when he was 22, to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Prosecutors said he threw rocks and pulled a knife on a man in a shopping mall parking lot. He unsuccessfully petitioned a court in 2020 to have his gun rights restored.

BCA spokeswoman Bonney Bowman said the bureau didn’t plan to issue any updates Wednesday but may issue a news release by the end of the week.

THE VICTIMS

Elmstrand, who grew up in North Branch, joined the Burnsville Police Department in 2017 as a community service officer and became a full-fledged officer in 2019. He was a member of the mobile command staff.

Ruge, who grew up in Wabasha, joined the force in 2020. He was part of the crisis negotiations team.

Finseth was an Army veteran from Rochester who was twice deployed to Iraq. He joined the fire department in 2019.

Medlicott joined the police force in 2014 and was promoted to sergeant in 2022. He was named Burnsville Officer of the Year in 2020.

A joint, public memorial service for Elmstrand, Ruge and Finseth will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 28 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, a suburb northwest of Burnsville.

THE POLITICAL ANGLE

Lawmakers who support stronger gun safety laws were reluctant Wednesday to link their proposals to the Burnsville tragedy. They held a news conference to highlight bills that would mandate reporting of lost and stolen firearms, tighten requirements for safe storage of guns and ammunition at homes, and secure new funding for violence prevention services.

“What we do know are real people are losing real lives that mean a lot to them. And we must continue to have these conversations to put things in place to stop this and prevent it from happening," said Rep. Cedrick Frazier, a Democrat from New Hope.

Rob Doar, a lobbyist for the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, said it's too early to speculate on what could have been done to prevent the shootings, given that authorities haven’t said how Gooden got the guns.

THE COMMUNITY AND STATE MOURN

Flags have been flying at half-staff at public and other buildings across Minnesota. People gathered Sunday and Tuesday outside Burnsville City Hall for candlelight vigils.

Processions of emergency vehicles escorted the victims' bodies from the medical examiner to a funeral home Monday and Tuesday, passing under several bridges where firefighters stood on their parked engines and flew American flags in tribute.

The city is steering people who want to contribute to the victims' families to a site run by the union that represents Burnsville officers, Law Enforcement Labor Services.