Crystal Police continue investigation into ‘rare’ shooting incidents

The parking lot at Big Louie’s in Crystal was the scene of two shooting incidents June 21 and June 22. The Sunday night shooting resulted in the death of Shateke Jamal Bruce, 27, of Minneapolis. His death has been ruled a homicide. The second shooting is said to have occurred as a group gathered to memorialize Bruce. Three men, ages 25, 29 and 35 years, were shot several times in that incident. (SUN PHOTO BY RAYMOND T. rIVARD)

Two separate shootings took place at the same location in Crystal on consecutive nights, with one person dying and three being taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

With a recent increase in shooting incidents across Minneapolis, police leaders didn’t anticipate gun incidents would spill into Crystal.

Crystal Chief Deputy Brian Hubbard said this situation “is a little bit rare ... no, it’s not a little bit rare, it’s obviously very rare. I’ve never seen anything like it. I certainly wasn’t expecting it when I got the call on the second night. But I would have fallen out of my chair if it was random. It became a little less surprising ... when it became evident they were related.”

Sunday night shooting

The first shooting occurred just after 2 a.m. June 21. Officers were dispatched to the parking lot outside Big Louie’s on the 5200 block of West Broadway for the report of a 27-year-old man who was shot several times.

“Officers got to the area and found a man who had been shot multiple times and was unconscious,” Hubbard said.

The man was later identified as Shateke Jamal Bruce of Minneapolis.

Hubbard said Bruce was alive when officers and emergency medical personnel worked on him at the scene and in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

“He actually gained a bit of consciousness in the ambulance. He got to the hospital and was in surgery for quite a while and subsequently passed at the hospital,” Hubbard said.

Bruce died of his injuries just before 8 a.m. Sunday.

A white van that witnesses reported seeing leaving the scene was later found and Hubbard said they are working that part of the investigation. As of June 26, no suspects had been named in the homicide.

Monday night shooting

Sunday night’s shooting led to Monday night’s incident.

On June 22, officers were called once again to the location because three individuals had been shot. All suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Two were transported to the hospital by ambulance and one was transported via a private vehicle before police and emergency personnel arrived.

The three men, ages 25, 29 and 35, were all treated and released.

“We are investigating the Monday night shooting as a related event. We believe the events are connected,” Hubbard said.

Those gathered had created a memorial and people were coming by throughout the evening to pay respects, Hubbard said, adding that the incident wasn’t random. Those involved knew each other.

“The shooters came to that location. It’s not like they were standing around there and all of a sudden they started shooting,” Hubbard said. “That’s not what we believed happened. Some people showed up there with the purpose of doing that [shooting]. We are not investigating this as a random crime.”

Investigators do not believe there is any danger to the public, he added.

Investigation

Hubbard said the investigation is ongoing and is progressing well.

“Our investigators have been working nonstop since the first [shooting]. They’ve done a really good job with interviews and collecting evidence and gathering information,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty good understanding of what’s occurred and now we’re putting the pieces together. We have to look at all the evidence – the forensic evidence, the technology evidence – and with some of that stuff we’re at the mercy of how long it takes to get those records. We don’t want to rush the arrest and lose the conviction, so we want to do this the right way.”

Chief responds

Police Chief Stephanie Revering reiterated in a published interview earlier in the week that these incidents are being investigated and that there would be “justice for all of these victims.”

Revering went on to describe the shock local law enforcement and residents were feeling after the back-to-back shootings in the city.

“I also want to make sure people understand, too, that this is not common in our city – to have something like this happen. We will make sure we follow up ... on the investigation to make sure we conduct thorough interviews with everybody involved and we appreciate that the public is helping us with this incident.”

Those with any additional information about these incidents are encouraged to call the department at 763-531-1020.

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