Police respond to reports of gunshots near campus

An area resident is critical of the police department’s handling of reports.

Elizabeth Cook

After shots were heard earlier this month near Erie Street Southeast, a concerned neighbor called the Minneapolis Police Department’s 2nd Precinct.

Lt. Ike Delugo said that about 11 p.m. March 10 police received a call about a disturbance at a house in the street’s 600 block.

At 12:15 a.m. another call came in about a fight between two women on the same block. When police arrived there was no fight.

About 2 a.m. police received a call about the gunshots.

While on the phone with 911, the caller said she saw people running outside and a white van leaving the area, Delugo said.

University police and the entire 2nd Precinct patrol working that shift – four cars – responded to the call, Delugo said.

Officers did pull over a white van, Delugo said, but found nothing suspicious.

Paul Scheurer, 50, a 15-year resident of the neighborhood who lives on Erie Street Southeast, said he is disturbed by the police response to the incident.

Scheurer said he is upset that police did not make an incident report about the gunshots.

“It makes no sense to me that they just won’t do their job,” Scheurer said.

When he called the crime prevention specialist for the 2nd Precinct, Scheurer said, they did not have all the information about the incident either and looked to Scheurer for help.

“It’s clear incompetence on the part of our police,” Scheurer said.

Delugo said no report was made because there was no weapon, suspect, victim or crime scene.

The incident is documented and is in the officer’s log, Delugo said, just not in an incident report.

James De Sota, the neighborhood coordinator for the Southeast Como Improvement Association, said there is frustration among residents with the way police are handling information.

“Things are getting worse between citizens and (the) police department,” De Sota said.

De Sota said the Southeast Como neighborhood also had an incident last month that involved shots being fired.

The information is “sketchy,” De Sota said. It mostly comes from the neighbors, but the police did confirm shots were fired, he said. He believes it happened about March 10, but that was all the information he had.

According to the neighborhood association Web site, there also was a call of an aggravated assault with shots fired near the intersection of East Hennepin Avenue and Industrial Boulevard. The exact date is not given, but it occurred the week of Feb. 14, according to the site.

Ron Reier, the public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, said that if police get a call and don’t find any damage, they clear the call.

That is why there wouldn’t be a police report. When it comes to gunshots, if there is no weapon, suspect, victim or damage, it is hard for police to determine whether shots were fired or the witness was mistaken, Reier said.

The crime prevention specialist for the 2nd Precinct did not return calls about this incident and Delugo did not confirm the report of a March 10 incident.