ALBERT LEA, Minn. — Three people, including a police officer, were wounded by gunfire in Albert Lea early Sunday, Nov. 29, prompting several SWAT teams from around the region to respond to what authorities called an "active shooter" situation at an eight-story apartment building.
Authorities announced just after 11 a.m. that a 21-year-old male suspect had been arrested after an hours-long standoff.
Albert Lea Director of Public Safety J.D. Carlson said the suspect fired out an apartment window, and that the scene remained “dynamic” through the morning, with the suspect still inside the building.
Authorities asked people to stay away from an apartment complex near the intersection of Front Street and Fourth Avenue South; orders to shelter in place were lifted after the suspect was arrested.
The State Patrol and SWAT teams from Austin and Mankato worked with local authorities, as Carlson said maintaining a perimeter around the area was “labor intensive.”
According to police, an officer responded to a report of fireworks or shots fired just after 2 a.m. Sunday and was ambushed by the suspect. The suspect fired multiple rounds, striking the officer in the chest and hitting the squad car.
"The officer was able to tactically relocate to a safe zone, assess injuries and drive directly to the ER," Albert Lea police said in a news release.
The 30-year-old police officer was treated and released.
Two other men, ages 38 and 52, were wounded by gunfire and transported first to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea. The 52-year-old man was transferred to Rochester. Authorities said both men’s injuries were not life-threatening.
One of the men was shot while in his car on his way to work, Carlson told MPR News, calling the shooting “completely arbitrary.”
The Albert Lea Tribune reported that some residents of the apartment complex were relocated to a nearby church during the standoff; others sheltered in place. Police said after the arrest that the building was being fully evacuated so investigators could process the crime scene.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a statement saying his thoughts were with those wounded by the gunfire.
“Thank you to the law enforcement officers, including both local teams and our State Patrol troopers and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents, who worked to keep Albert Lea residents safe from further harm. This situation could have been significantly worse, but the suspect is now in custody," Walz wrote. “We know that one Albert Lea police officer was injured today, and the First Lady and I wish them a quick recovery. Thank you for your bravery and service.”