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Officers on leave after shooting in Willmar, Minn.

Police and other emergency personnel respond to a shooting July 23, 2017, on the 400 block of 11th Street Northwest of Willmar. (Jake Schultz / Forum News Service)1 / 2
Police and other emergency personnel respond to a shooting July 23, 2017, on the 400 block of 11th Street Northwest of Willmar. (Jake Schultz / Forum News Service)2 / 2

WILLMAR — Two Willmar Police Department officers are on standard administrative leave after an officer-involved shooting incident Sunday afternoon, July 23, in northwest Willmar.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident which began with a 911 call about a suicidal man at a home in the 400 block of 11th Street Northwest, according to a news release from BCA.

According to the release, two officers were dispatched to the address and encountered the man in the backyard of the home holding a gun.

Both officers fired their weapons during the incident, and the man was injured.

Officers and Willmar Ambulance personnel treated him at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital and by helicopter to St. Cloud Hospital. No one else was injured.

The BCA is in the early stages of the investigation and will release more information after initial interviews with the subject, officers and witnesses are complete, according to the news release. The police department does not use body cameras. The squad camera did not capture the incident.

Yellow crime scene tape stretched from one end of the block to the other, and more than a dozen squad cars were parked at both ends and on both sides of the street after the incident.

Some people came home to find that they couldn't get to their homes along that block. Officers at each end of the street interviewed them briefly before allowing them to go home.

Residents of the neighborhood gathered in small groups across the street from the home that appeared to be the focus of police activity. Most said they hadn't seen what happened, though several said they had heard several gunshots in quick succession.

Amanda Shanahan and Melvin Robinson live on Gorton Avenue, a couple blocks from the shooting. They had been at the Holiday station on west U.S. Highway 12 and heard the gunshots there, they said.

It was at least three shots back-to-back, Shanahan said. They described the man they had seen taken to the ambulance as a white man who might have been in his 50s.

Alta Harding of New London and her husband were in the backyard of a house at the end of the block. Two squad cars were already at the house before they heard the shots, she said.

At first, they weren't sure what they had heard, she said, but they made their dog and grandchild go inside the house.

"It's a little unsettling," Harding said.

In addition to the Willmar Police Department and the BCA, officers from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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