By ELLA TORRES, ABC News
(MINNEAPOLIS) — Protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was seen pinned down in a video by a white police officer and later died, escalated overnight, with the governor warning the situation was “extremely dangerous.”
Police said that they responded to a call of a stabbing victim and found a man in grave condition near the protests. The man later died in the hospital and authorities learned he died from a gunshot wound, according to John Elder, the director of communication for Minneapolis police.
One person was in custody after the shooting, police said. It was not immediately clear what led to the shooting, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the owner of a pawn shop opened fire on a man he believed was burglarizing his business and fatally shot him.
Police said multiple businesses were looted during the protests and the city’s fire department said there were 30 intentional fires during the protests, including at least 16 structure fires.
Massive flames were seen in the sky on videos that circulated throughout social media. As of Thursday afternoon, the fire department said crews were still extinguishing fires along East Lake Street.
AutoZone store in Minneapolis across from 3rd Precinct, still burning, roof and walls collapsed. 6:20am. pic.twitter.com/2nm6bmnDPq
— Tony Webster (@webster) May 28, 2020
People were also throwing rocks at fire department vehicles responding to the scene, according to the fire department, which noted there were no firefighter injuries. Elder had said people were throwing rocks at firefighters.
The protests, which had been largely peaceful up until Wednesday night, were in wake of Floyd’s death after he was apprehended by Minneapolis police Monday. Disturbing video emerged on social media showing a police officer with his knee on the man’s neck as the man repeatedly yells out, “I can’t breathe.”
“I can’t breathe, please, the knee in my neck,” the man said in a video showing a police officer pinning him to the ground. “I can’t move … my neck … I’m through, I’m through.”
Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, wrote on Twitter the family thanked the protesters and wanted peace in Minneapolis, but “knows that Black people want peace in their souls — and until we get #JusticeForFloyd there will be no peace.”
“We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors and endanger each other as we respond to the necessary urge to raise our voices in unison and in outrage,” Crump wrote Thursday morning. “Looting and violence distract from strength of our collective voice.”
We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors and endanger each other as we respond to the necessary urge to raise our voices in unison and in outrage. Looting and violence distract from strength of our collective voice.
— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) May 28, 2020
The city requested assistance from the National Guard late Wednesday during the protests, according to ABC Saint Paul affiliate KSTP.
The National Guard did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
“Tonight was a different night of protesting. Last night we had 8,000 protestors all peaceful. Tonight we did not have that,” Elder said.
Elder said that there were no serious injuries to officers. He was not sure about the number of people arrested.
The fire department said there were no civilian injuries from the fires.
Gov. Tim Walz urged people to leave the area as the situation escalated.
“The situation near Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis has evolved into an extremely dangerous situation. For everyone’s safety, please leave the area and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene,” Walz wrote on Twitter.
The situation near Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis has evolved into an extremely dangerous situation. For everyone's safety, please leave the area and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) May 28, 2020
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also asked people to evacuate the area.
“Please, Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy,” Frey wrote on Twitter.
Please, Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy.
The area along Lake has become unsafe. We are asking for your help in keeping the peace tonight. https://t.co/kRZuWGJY29
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) May 28, 2020
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing Floyd’s death. On Thursday, it was announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office were conducting a “robust” criminal investigation into his death.
“The federal investigation will determine whether the actions by the involved former Minneapolis Police Department officers violated federal law. It is a violation of federal law for an individual acting under color of law to willfully deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States,” according to a joint statement from United States Attorney Erica MacDonald And FBI Special Agent In Charge Rainer Drolshagen.
The officers involved in the incident were identified by police as Officer Derek Chauvin, Officer Thomas Lane, Officer Tou Thao and Officer J. Alexander Kueng.
All four officers were fired, according to Frey.
“This is the right call,” the mayor said.
The Minneapolis Police Department said Monday that officers were initially called to the scene “on a report of a forgery in progress” in a statement on their website.
The statement added that officers were advised that the suspect “appeared to be under the influence” and that he “physically resisted officers.”
He later “appeared to be suffering medical distress” and officers called an ambulance. He was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance, “where he died a short time later.”
The police department said there were no weapons of any type used by anyone involved in the incident and no officers were injured.
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