The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating the death of a 31-year-old black man who was killed by police following a foot chase, according to the Star Tribune.
An autopsy conducted by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner confirmed Thurman Blevins Jr. died Saturday, June 23, at 5.35 p.m. of “multiple gunshot wounds.”
While it is clear that Blevins died from police bullets, precisely what happened leading up to his death is less clear. Police and witnesses on the scene have been giving mixed accounts of the moments before Blevins' death.
To start with, the BCA claims investigators recovered a black and silver handgun from the scene.
However, one witness, Eva Watson, disputes the official police report.
“He didn’t have a gun or anything,” Watson said. “He was just sitting there. He got killed for nothing.”
Watson also claims she heard Blevins yell, “Don’t shoot!” as he ran away from the oncoming officers.
The sister of Blevins' girlfriend, Katya Kelly, claims Blevins didn't have a gun in his hand. Instead, she says he was carrying a bottle home after taking a Saturday afternoon stroll with his girlfriend.
Roughly 300 people gathered on Sunday afternoon to pay their respects to Blevins.
“At the end of the day, we know that no matter what transpired in the moments leading up to the shooting, we know with certainty that the outcome is a tragedy,” said Mayor Jacob Frey according to the Associated Press. Mayor Frey was present at the evening memorial.
Both Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo (the latter of whom attended the afternoon protest), promised the investigation will be fully transparent and noted the involved officers were wearing body cameras. The BCA said it wouldn't release the names of the officers involved in the shooting until it could interview each one. Both officers are currently on administrative leave.
“Honestly, I don’t know what’s going through the community’s minds, but I do know that we continue to be traumatized one time after another,” Minneapolis NAACP President Leslie Badue said at the protest, per Minnesota Public Radio. “It’s extremely unfortunate, and we just want answers.”