On the evening of Saturday, June 23rd, 2018, Minneapolis Police (MPD) received a call at 5:26 p.m. regarding a man walking in the area of 4700 Bryant Ave North. The caller provided little information. A second caller reported a person walking and firing a gun into the air and into the ground.
According to an eye witness, Thurman “Jun” Blevins was sitting on the curb with his girlfriend and a child in a stroller in the area the calls originated from when the police pulled up. Blevins stood up when police quickly exited their vehicle. Witnesses say he raised his hands before police shot him with a taser. Blevins proceeded to run in the opposite direction of police when they fired anywhere from 9-14 gunshots. Witnesses say Blevins was shot in the back, less than two minutes after MPD arrived on scene. He died at the scene.
It has not been confirmed that Blevins was, in fact, the person referenced in the 911 calls. It has been reported that the first 911 caller provided few details and no description. The calls are not yet publicly available.
Minneapolis Mayor, Jacob Frey, gave the following statement regarding the shooting:
“I want to offer words that can help ease the pain that people in every neighborhood of our city feel tonight. But at the same time, I must recognize that whatever words I come up with will fall short of that goal.
Regardless of what happened tonight – too many times, people from across Minneapolis and the Twin Cities have been stung by the pain of a life lost in the course of an encounter with law enforcement. Regardless of what happened tonight – the historical trauma inflicted on communities of color is never far from nearly every facet of our lives.
Tonight we grieve as our memories are stirred by a now too familiar feeling – by the loss of someone’s son, brother, friend, and neighbor.
Events of the past several years, and now tonight, have tested our city in ways that are new to some neighborhoods but are all familiar for others. Strained relations between law enforcement officials and the communities they serve – especially communities of color – have exacted a toll on the very soul of our city, our region, and this nation.
My heart is heavy knowing that tonight in Minneapolis, we mark the beginning of another chapter in a painful history. In the days ahead I will continue working with Chief Arradondo to gather all the facts and take action as necessary.
The facts that we currently have are limited. But here is what we know now: This afternoon there was an officer-involved shooting, during which a man was killed. The officers arrived on the scene in response to two 9-1-1 calls indicating that a man was firing a silver 9mm handgun. The victim was armed, and the case has been referred to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for investigation.
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. To everyone hurting tonight: I’m sorry.”