Minneapolis Police Department and other law enforcement officers searched three apartment buildings without tenants’ permission after multiple shootings that led to four people’s deaths, including Minneapolis Police Department Officer Jamal Mitchell.

Three people were injured during the initial shooting – a bystander in a car, an assisting police officer, and a firefighter. The shootings spanned an apartment unit at 2221 Blaisdell Ave. and the 2100 block of Blaisdell Avenue on May 30. Minneapolis Police Department Officers Nick Kapinos and Luke Kittock were identified as using force against Mustafa Mohamed, the suspected shooter at both locations, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

After the suspected shooter was dead at the scene and there was no known public safety risk in the vicinity, per the Minneapolis Police Department officers at the scene, law enforcement searched all units in the apartment buildings at 2221, 2215, and 2201 Blaisdell Avenue from 6:15 p.m. until at least 9 p.m. After 5:30 p.m. residents could not leave their apartments or gain access to their apartment buildings until the next morning.  

Southwest Voices spoke with three tenants who said their experiences after the shootings were “nerve-racking” and “traumatic.”

Officers told residents that they were “not searching for anybody” but they were just making sure “nobody else” was in the apartment units, according to videos posted to social media and apartment tenants who spoke with Southwest Voices.

Tenants were frustrated by the lack of information coming from the Minneapolis Police Department because it was unknown how long their apartments would be under the control of law enforcement.

As tenants waited outside for more information, they learned police officers were gaining access to some apartment units by ramming in doors.

“They’re kicking the doors in?” a tenant asked in an exchange between Minneapolis Police Department officers and apartments tenants from the 2200 block of Blaisdell.

“Unfortunately, that’s what we’re doing,” an officer responded.

“I would have gave you my keys,” a tenant replied.

Residents who were displaced at the time of the shooting reported that police didn’t allow them back into their apartment buildings until the next morning.

A tenant on the 2200 block of Blaisdell Avenue, who asked to be identified as D, tried to come home around 6:30 p.m. and an officer told them that it “would be a few hours.” After returning to their apartment building at 10:30 p.m., police officers still told them not to enter their apartment building. So, D decided to find a place to stay that night.

Another neighbor on the block, Ashley, arrived home at 5:30 p.m. “when everything completely exploded with activity.“

According to Ashley, “No one could tell us a source of where to get info, or when things would reopen either, so we had to just keep coming back to the scene.”

Like D, she was unable to access her apartment building until the next morning at 5:30 a.m.

“We got into our unit, our door was unlocked and our dog was shut into our bedroom,” Ashley said. “Safe, but no water or food for nearly 10 hours based on when we think cops searched our building.”

When a late night City press conference didn’t mention any pending public safety risks, Ashley said she wondered why the priority wasn’t getting residents back into their apartments.

“I had a lot of questions around things like, what about my medications? I’m diabetic and don’t have access to my insulin for the morning. What if we had kids home alone?” Ashley asked hypothetically, a day after she was back in her apartment.

D’s apartment was close to one of the shootings, and they wanted to check on their apartment.

“I don’t know if my apartment has a bullet hole, I would like to check,” D said. They said they were frustrated by the inability to get escorted back inside the evening of the shooting, lacking an active public safety threat.

For tenants who were home during the shootings, law enforcement required people to stay inside their apartments until the next morning.

A tenant’s point of view from inside

As the Timberwolves slowly lost to the Mavericks in Game 5 of the NBA Western Finals, Minneapolis Police Department and Minnesota State Patrol officers searched units in the three apartment buildings that spanned the length of the shooting locations.

A request for comment from the Minneapolis Police Department about the reasoning for the apartment searches was directed to the BCA.

“Generally speaking, when there are concerns that an active shooter may be in a building, law enforcement will typically search to find the shooter and/or any victims,” BCA Public Information Officer Bonney Bowman told Southwest Voices.

On May 30 and in subsequent statements, Minneapolis Police Department did not state they were looking for an active shooter beyond Mohamed, who died at the scene earlier in the evening.

The BCA arrived at the apartment buildings after the apartment searches were completed and conducted its own interviews with tenants.

A resident of the 2201 Blaisdell Ave. apartment building, who asked to remain anonymous, shared videos of their unit being searched and the BCA interviewing them on May 30.

A loud knock on the tenant’s door informs them the Minneapolis Police Department is there to search the unit. After the police ask the tenant to “come out for a second,” a Minneapolis Police Department officer tells them, “just because of what happened outside we want to make sure no one else is inside.”

In the video, at least four police officers and two Minnesota State Patrol officers enter the one-bedroom apartment. Multiple Minneapolis Police Department officers are holding AK-15 rifles as they search the apartment, including a small hall closet.

A still from a video showing a Minneapolis Police Department officer with an AK-15 rifle inside the 2201 Blaisdell Ave. apartment building on May 30.

When the tenant asks if the situation is “still active,” an officer replies, “we’re getting to where it’s safe, but not quite yet.” One of the officers changes the subject to the Timberwolves game, which was on in the tenant’s unit, and asks the tenant the score.

“My anxiety about it since then has been through the roof,” the resident said four days after the shooting and subsequent apartment lockdown. “I just don't feel very at peace at all.”

The tenant said the apartment search added to their anxiety. “I feel a lot more shaken up than I would have,” had it just been the shoot out, which they also witnessed from their apartment.

While the resident who was home especially noted the intensity of the police presence as part of their experience, all three neighbors told Southwest Voices there was a lack of communication during the evening from both the police and their landlords or property managers.

One of the properties sent an email to residents at 9:18 p.m., hours after apartment searches had started.

“We understand that incidents like this can be concerning and disruptive to our community,” the email reads in part. “We are committed to keeping our residents informed as more information becomes available and will continue to take all necessary steps to maintain a safe environment for everyone.”

Southwest Voices reached out to the apartment building for comment and has not heard back.  

The BCA interviewers arrived at the anonymous tenant’s apartment at 2201 Blaisdell Ave. long after the Wolves lost to the Mavericks, 124-103, asking if anyone was hurt or if the tenant had seen anything.

The tenant said they had heard the shooting and told the BCA the neighborhood was otherwise a quiet place.

“This is totally unprecedented for my experience in the neighborhood,” the tenant shared with Southwest Voices. “I'm just really sad on behalf of my neighbors. It's a really vibrant, beautiful neighborhood.”

The May 30 shootings are still under investigation by the BCA. There have been no public comments made by the BCA or the Minneapolis Police Department about the apartment searches on May 30.