Minneapolis Police officers who shot and killed Thurman Blevins on Saturday evening had first chased him for "several blocks," according to a preliminary Bureau of Criminal Apprehension statement released Sunday.
Cops were called to an intersection in the Camden neighborhood of Minneapolis around 5:30 p.m., with witnesses claiming a man had been "firing a handgun." Those calls originated from the 46th and Lyndale intersection.
That's not where officers found Blevins, 31. He was at 48th and Camden, "sitting with a woman on the curb," when the two-person police squad car happened upon them. Here's how the BCA release describes what happened next:
"As the officers exited their squad, the subject fled on foot, carrying a black and silver gun. The officers pursued the subject on foot for several blocks. At one point during the encounter, the officers fired their weapons, striking the man. He was pronounced deceased at the scene."
Of the four sentences in the above paragraph, only the last will be non-controversial. The BCA says its "crime scene personnel" found a "black and silver handgun" at the scene of Blevins' shooting, which occurred in the alley between Aldrich and Bryant.
Witnesses have said Blevins was carrying something, but it wasn't a gun; one told the Star Tribune Blevins was carrying a bottle, and another says he was yelling "I didn't do anything! I don't have anything!"
That version of the story flies in the face of the narrative offered by Bob Kroll, head of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis union, who said, of Blevins' death, "This is nothing short of heroic activity."
The shooting was captured on the officers' body cameras. Kroll hasn't seen that footage yet, and bases his defense of the officers' conduct on a conversation with their attorney.
A different witness told KARE 11 he heard police calling for Blevins to drop his gun, and says he saw "what looked like a black handgun" near Blevins' body after the shooting.
The BCA has yet to release the names of the officers involved. Once completed, the BCA's investigation will be turned over to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, whose office is currently preparing for the trial of Minneapolis cop Mohamed Noor in the 2017 shooting of Justine Damond.
Blevins had three children and two stepsons, his cousin Rashaun Brown told the Star Tribune. "It really hurts," Brown said. "The biggest thing is, how do we explain this to his children?”