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City identifies 2 officers, 1 paramedic killed in Burnsville, Minnesota; suspect also dead

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — Two police officers and a paramedic were shot and killed in a Twin Cities suburb Sunday morning, authorities said, and the man who shot them is also dead.

Superintendent Drew Evans with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Burnsville police officers were called to a home at about 1:50 a.m. on 33rd Avenue South and East 126th Street, just west of the Interstate 35E-Highway 77 interchange.

A suspect inside was reported to be armed, and several people were barricaded inside, including seven young children ranging in age from 2 to 15.

RELATED: Who were the officers and paramedic fatally shot in Burnsville?

Paul Elmstrand, Matthew Ruge and Adam Finseth

City of Burnsville

Evans said law enforcement “spent quite a bit of time negotiating with this individual,” before the suspect is said to have opened fire on officers.

Burnsville city officials identified the victims as officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge and firefighter/paramedic Adam Finseth. Sgt. Adam Medlicott with BPD was also shot but is expected to survive.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was reported dead at about 8 a.m., and the family members in the home made it out safely a short time later.

Evans said details surrounding the timing and exchange of gunfire is not clear at this point in the investigation.

“A terrible day for the city of Burnsville, all of the residents,” Evans said.

The fallen first responders

City officials said 27-year-old Elmstrand joined the Burnsville Police Department in 2017 and was promoted in 2019.

Ruge, also 27, joined the force in 2020.

Finseth, 40, has been a firefighter and SWAT paramedic in the city since 2019. Fire Chief B.J. Jungmann says Finseth previously worked with the fire departments in Savage and Hastings.

READ MORE: Five Minnesota policeman gunned down in line of duty since 2015

Law enforcement discuss killings of 3 Burnsville first responders

Medlicott has been with BPD for nine years and five months.  

Police Chief Tanya Schwartz says her department is “hurting.”

“Today, three members of our team made the ultimate sacrifice for this community. They are heroes,” Schwartz said. “Every day we pray that they go home to their families. And today that’s not happening. We’re heartbroken. We are gonna need time to be together. Our families need time to grieve.”

Jungmann says Sunday was the toughest day the city has ever experienced.

“It’s a tragic day, we’re all grieving, and we’re all trying to understand what happened and why,” Jungmann said.

READ MORE: Five Minnesota policeman gunned down in line of duty since 2015

Neighbors describe the scene

Jason Skog said he started to see a large police and SWAT presence in his Burnsville neighborhood at about 2 a.m., but said things escalated three hours later at 5 a.m.

“I heard a loud explosion, which I chalked up right away to a motor going off, like a firework. But then like a minute later I heard another one, followed shortly thereafter by a series of gunfire, really rapid,” Skog said. “Then I knew right away that something bad was taking place.”

Skog didn’t know exactly where the shooting was coming from, but he knew it was close to his home.

“Shortly thereafter, we got a phone call from the police department to shelter in place, go to your basement and shelter in place,” Skog said.

Dylan Foline also lives in this neighborhood. The father of two is shaken by what happened, especially after learning that a family was barricaded in the home at the time of the shooting. 

“This is a tragedy and I have to now explain to my daughter what happened today, and it’s just the thought of those kids, that’s what really hits home to me and my heart goes out to the families of the responders,” Foline said.

The street was blocked off all Sunday from everyone except law enforcement and homeowners. 

Hundreds of first responders honor the victims

At Hennepin Healthcare in downtown Minneapolis, police and first responders from multiple cities gathered to show support Sunday afternoon. Injured officers are often taken to the hospital due to its status as a level-one trauma center.

RELATED: Hundreds line Twin Cities streets to honor 3 Burnsville first responders killed in line of duty

Their caskets, draped in American flags, were carried into vans outside the hospital as a crowd of law enforcement stood to salute them.   

Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff lined up in the skyway to see them off. Police, fire and paramedic vehicles stayed close as the vans departed downtown.


Gov. Tim Walz reacts

Support and condolences from Minnesota state leaders and other law enforcement agencies are pouring in on social media.

“We must never take for granted the bravery and sacrifices our first responders make each and every day,” Walz said in a statement. “Today, the families of these public servants received the call they knew was possible but hoped would never come. My heart is with those grieving families — the State of Minnesota stands ready to support in any way we can. This is a tragic loss for our state.”

Walz ordered flags be flown at half-staff starting Monday at sunrise. A vigil was held for the victims Sunday evening at Burnsville City Hall.

RELATED: After 2 officers, paramedic killed in Burnsville, Minnesota, support pours in on social media

Read More:City identifies 2 officers, 1 paramedic killed in Burnsville, Minnesota; suspect also dead