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Bemidji cop shoots, kills teen with knife

From left, Bemidji Police officer Mike Solheim, Police Chief Jerry Johnson, and Sergeant John Sorensen listen to Bemidji Police investigator Mark Nelson describe a fatal shooting involving an 18-year-old man to Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Special Agent Brad Barker and Bemidji Police investigator Michael Haines Thursday afternoon at the corner of Third Street Southeast and Kay Avenue Southeast. Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp is standing behind Johnson.

An 18-year-old man who was shot by a Bemidji Police officer Thursday in Nymore, Minn., died as a result of the shooting.

The man, who has not been identified, was shot by a police officer about 12:30 p.m. and taken to North Country Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to a Bemidji Police Department press release.

The incident began about 12:12 p.m. when emergency personnel received a call about a medical situation at 228 Kay Ave. S.E.

Bemidji Ambulance Service was the first to respond to the scene, but the medical situation escalated and medical personnel called at about 12:25 p.m. to report that the man had blood on him and also had a knife.

Initially, two Bemidji Police officers responded, said Police Chief Gerald Johnson in a press conference Thursday afternoon.

One of those officers shot the man, according to the press release.

Johnson said he could not say how many times the individual was shot.

"The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave ... because of their involvement in a critical incident," Johnson said.

The names of the two officers have not been released.

Few details have been released as to what led the incident to escalate from the initial medical call.

Johnson said he could not comment on whether there was use of a Taser, an electronic control device or stun gun, explaining that those details will be revealed during the course of the investigation.

The investigation now will be led by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is standard in similar incidents.

Responding to the incident were officers from the Bemidji Police Department, Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Leech Lake Tribal Police Department, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Bemidji Fire Department and Bemidji Ambulance.

The man's body has been sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner for an autopsy, Johnson said.

Johnson could not say how many shots were fired nor could he recall the last time a Bemidji Police officer discharged a weapon.

He did say the area, at the intersection of Third Street Southeast and Kay Avenue Southeast, is not a place to which police are frequently called.

"I believe this was an isolated incident," he said. "I don't think there is an ongoing threat to that neighborhood."

Sheila Hirt, who lives one block from where the shooting took place, said she was in the backyard at the time of the shooting with her day-care children when she heard a gunshot. She put the children inside and locked down the entire residence until a nearby police officer told her the incident was over.

"Nothing like this ever happens here," said Haley Jones, Hirt's daughter.

Both said they initially believed the gunshot was a fire-cracker.

"It's pretty quiet around here," Hirt said.

"Usually," Jones added.