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Minnesota firefighter, two officers killed responding to domestic violence call

People attend a candlelight vigil after two police officers and a first responder were shot and killed Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in Burnsville, Minnesota. The Associated Press/Photo by Abbie Parr

Minnesota firefighter, two officers killed responding to domestic violence call

The shootings took place Sunday morning in a tree-lined suburban neighborhood of Burnsville. Just before 2 a.m., police responded to a domestic violence report. An armed man had barricaded himself in a home with his family, said Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans. Those inside included seven children ranging in age from 2 to 15. The man, who by Monday morning had not yet been publicly identified by law enforcement, was armed with more than one firearm and had a large amount of ammunition.

How did the shooting occur? A standoff lasted four hours before a SWAT team entered the home, a representative of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said. The suspect then began shooting at police officers from positions on the home’s main floor and upper level, Evans said. Several officers returned fire. In addition to the three responders who were fatally shot, another police officer received injuries that were not life-threatening. At about 8 a.m. Monday morning, Evans said police learned that the suspect was dead and officers were able to evacuate the family members who had been trapped inside.

Have authorities identified the fallen officers? Officials with the city of Burnsville have identified the two police officers as Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both age 27. The firefighter was identified as 40-year-old Adam Finseth. Finseth, who was also a paramedic, was killed while aiding an injured officer, Evans said. The coroner’s office was expected to release the suspect’s identity sometime after an autopsy scheduled for Monday.

How is the community of Burnsville responding? In an emotional news conference Sunday, Burnsville Police Chief Tanya Schwartz called the fallen officers “heroes,” who “made the ultimate sacrifice.” She requested prayers for the officers’ families. Burnsville Fire Chief B.J. Jungmann called Sunday “the toughest day that the city of Burnsville and our public safety family has ever experienced.” A vigil was held Sunday night in front of Burnsville City Hall.

Dig Deeper: Read Jennifer Bennett’s first-hand account of surviving the 2013 Washington Navy Yard mass shooting.

Travis K. Kircher

Travis is the associate breaking news editor for WORLD.

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