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Woodbury traffic stop yields no suspects in fatal officer shooting

Minnesota State Troopers inspect a vehicle stopped on an Interstate 494 exit ramp in Woodbury Wednesday afternoon, as authorities were searching for a suspect in connection with the shooting of a Mendota Heights police officer. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)

WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A Mendota Heights police officer was shot and killed this afternoon during a traffic stop near Dodd Road and Smith Avenue in West St. Paul, according to Dakota County dispatch.

City Council member Ultan Duggan said the officer died from his injuries suffered during the shooting.

“It’s a hard day for all of Mendota Heights,” Duggan said. “You think this will never happen to you and then out of the blue … boom here is what happens.”

He added that the officer had a long career with the department, dating back at least 12 to 15 years.

The shooting happened about 12:20 p.m.

According to police scanner reports, the suspect is in a Pontiac Grand Prix and was fleeing on Dodd Road.

A police chase occurred afterward that led to Interstate 494 and Lake Road in Woodbury, where dozens of police apprehended a man. Woodbury police spokeswoman Michelle Okada later confirmed that the person apprehended in Woodbury was not connected to the Mendota Heights shooting. 

Okada said that motorist was transported to Woodwinds Health Campus.

A dispatch transmission around 4:30 p.m. stated that officers were still searching for two suspects wanted in the shooting.

Mark Tressmer, who owns Camelot Cleaners near the crime scene, said an ambulance was in the area but left.

“We didn’t see anything, but there’s a boatload of police officers from West St. Paul and Mendota Heights and St. Paul … Metro Transit police. Everybody’s up here.”

Doug Nelson was sitting on his deck about a block away when he said he heard two or three loud pops.

He then heard a car traveling fast along Dodd Road and a honking horn.

Police have the area taped off and “they’re going around now talking to people to see if anybody saw anything,” he said.

Mike Youness was sitting in his living room along Ottawa Avenue with his wife when he heard three gunshots.

“I’m a hunter,” Youness said. “I recognized them as gunshots immediately.”

He went outside and walked about 120 yards to where a Mendota Heights police SUV was at the side of the road. An officer was lying on the ground with a severe head injury, Youness said. A woman who Youness believes is a nurse tried to revive the officer.

“She said it was futile,” Youness said. “He was already gone.”

Mike Lowe was walking his dog when heard three gunshots, looked over and saw the officer “crumpled to the ground.”

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.