A manhunt was underway Sunday in Minneapolis after the fatal shooting of a man near “George Floyd Square,” an intersection that serves as a memorial to the man whose death at the hands of police in May set off Black Lives Matter protests across the nation.
Police provided few details of the shooting, which took place less than 48 hours before jury selection is set to begin in the murder trial of the police officer charged in Floyd’s death.
Police spokesman John Elder said police were alerted to Saturday’s shooting at about 5:45 p.m. local time were told the victim or victims had been brought to the “autonomous zone” at the edge of the intersection.
“Officers were met with some interference at the scene,” Elder said. They were notified that the victim had already been brought to the hospital, and a short time later learned he victim had died.
Elder said it appears that the victim in his 30s and suspect had an argument, and that after the shooting the suspect fled in a cream-colored Chevrolet Suburban “believed to have suffered gunshot damage.” He asked for the public’s help in locating the vehicle.
Elder said early reports indicated two people might have been shot, but a second victim had not been found. He said the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.
“We are in the infancy of this investigation,” Elder said. “We have teams of investigators working this case.”
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The shooting came hours after about 150 people gathered in front of the Minnesota governor’s mansion to demand accountability for police officers. Many of the protesters had family members who died during police encounters.
Similar protests were being organized in cities around the country in advance of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Floyd, 46, died May 25 after an altercation with police at the intersection during which Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for 9 ½ minutes while he was handcuffed and pinned to the pavement.
As he lay on the ground under Chauvin, Floyd cried out, “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. He called for his mother, who had recently died, nearly a dozen times.
Video filmed by a bystander went viral, sparking months of protests over racism and police brutality.
Chavin’s lawyers are expected to argue that Floyd’s death was the result of his struggle with police, the drugs in his system and health issues such as heart disease.
Contributing: Tami Abdollah