The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said on Wednesday that surveillance footage seems to show a 24-year-old man and a St. Paul police sergeant engaging in gunfire on Monday.
Howard Peter Johnson, 24 years old, was taken to Regions Hospital by paramedics, but he later passed away there. Sergeant Cody Blanshan escaped harm.
The St. Paul Police Department issued a statement early on Tuesday morning detailing their investigation into events that occurred on Monday night. The BCA, who is conducting the investigation, made the first disclosures on Wednesday. As stated in a BCA statement:
At about 6 o’clock, officers were called to the intersection of Earl Street and Hudson Road in St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood in response to an allegation of a domestic attack. The caller said that a guy named Johnson had a gun.
Law enforcement personnel have established a cordon around the location.
“In the meanwhile, a lady working at a Hudson Road company exited the building and entered her vehicle,” the report said. No, she was not the alleged victim of the domestic attack. According to what she told BCA officers, Johnson followed her into her car and pointed a pistol at her as she drove away.
Blanshan and another member of the St. Paul Police Department were in a nearby squad vehicle, with Blanshan at the wheel. Blanshan’s men are seen on surveillance footage striking Johnson many times, including in the back and the side, before he falls to the ground. When Johnson stood up, it seemed like he and Blanshan began firing at each other.
While on the floor, Johnson let go of his pistol. While waiting for paramedics, officers treated him medically and put him in handcuffs.
The BCA discovered a weapon with a.45 calibers and three spent round casings at the site. In addition, 10 9mm cartridge casings were discovered, which were all shot from the same department-issued pistol that Blanshan used.
The BCA is now evaluating video from security cameras, body cameras, and squad cameras that caught parts of the incident.
The officers’ lawyers have assured the BCA that they would submit formal written testimonies in the coming days.
Once the BCA has finished its investigation, it will submit its findings to the Ramsey County attorney’s office for review and possible filing of criminal charges against any applicable law enforcement personnel.
After 10 years of service, Blanshan was placed on routine administrative leave by the St. Paul police department.
According to the department’s records, Blanshan has been a St. Paul police officer since 2013, and he has received just two reprimands since then, both for avoidable squad collisions in 2017 and 2019.