Police shot and killed a man in Richfield the night of Sept. 7, following a vehicle pursuit that was streamed online.
Richfield resident Brian J. Quinones, 30, died at the scene, at East 77th Street and Chicago Avenue, after police opened fire at 10:22 p.m. He had led police on a vehicle pursuit that began in Edina, all the while recording and streaming the chase on Facebook Live from inside his vehicle.
According to a statement from the Edina Police Department, Quinones confronted officers with a knife. The statement noted the incident involved officers from both Richfield and Edina. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner stated Quinones was hit with multiple gunshots.
The chase leading Quinones’ death began when police attempted to pull him over after he ran a red light near York Avenue, the Star Tribune reported, citing emergency dispatch audio. He continued running red lights during the pursuit, according to the emergency dialog.
Quinones recorded his final moments with an apparent cellphone camera facing him as he drove. In the video, Quinones looks calm as red and blue lights flash behind him and down-tempo rap plays through the car stereo. At about the 12-minute mark of the video, he stops and quickly exits the vehicle.
Sixteen seconds later, as the recording continues, yelling can be heard off-camera as a string gunshots ring out, with Quinones out of view. Less than two seconds pass before the video shows – through the vehicle’s windows – at least one officer firing his weapon several more times.
“They were like, right behind him when he jumped out,” said a resident of Seasons Park Apartments, which is located directly across from the scene of the shooting. The witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was watching TV when he heard the commotion outside and went to the apartment balcony to observe.
“If you put the sound together, it sounded like a couple automatic weapons,” the apartment resident said.
Quinones’ younger brother said his sibling displayed mental health troubles leading up to the tragedy.
“He had suicidal thoughts,” Joshua Quinones said of his older sibling the next day, Sept. 8, prior to a candlelight vigil that was held at the scene of the shooting. “That’s it. He had it all planned out. That was his plan. That was all.”
Joshua Quinones said that the day of his brother’s death, his concern for his sibling grew.
“He sent me a message yesterday saying, ‘So sorry,’ and I told him, ‘Brian, what’s going on? Are you OK?’”
He said he called his brother, and when he was greeted over the phone, “I heard the sadness in his voice.”
He thinks law enforcement could have used less-than-lethal force such as a Taser to resolve the incident. “Yes, they could have,” Joshua Quinones said. “Yes completely, they could have.”
The candlelight vigil turned into a march as dusk approached, with demonstrators heading west from the scene of the shooting toward Portland Avenue. The group of several dozen people then proceeded down the entrance ramp to westbound Interstate 494, closing down the freeway as the state patrol stationed vehicles between the clogged traffic and the protestors.
The marchers sat down in the middle of the freeway for a brief period, then continued west down the interstate, exiting at Nicollet Avenue and heading back to the scene of the shooting. There were no apparent arrests.
“He was a musician, he was a barber, he was such a humble person. He was a father. He had one child,” the younger Quinones said, referring to his 12-year-old nephew.
The music of his late brother, who rapped, played from speakers prior to the vigil as friends, family and strangers gathered.
“He did not care about being famous,” Joshua Quinones said. “He just wanted to be heard.”
A statement from Edina Police notes the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident and will release more information after concluding interviews with witnesses.
A statement from the city of Richfield added, “We are cooperating with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office investigation and are committed to a transparent process,” reads a statement from Richfield Police. “We request your patience as the investigation continues.”
– Follow Andrew Wig on Twitter @EdinaSunCurrent
An initial version of this article mistakenly identified Joshua Quinones as Brian Quinones' older brother. It has since been corrected to reflect that the sibling is Quinones' younger brother.