Two more suspects in the shooting of five Black Lives Matter activists in Minneapolis near protests over the death of Jamar Clark have been identified.
Nathan Gustavsson, 21, and Daniel Macey, 26, are being held without bail along with their 23-year-old friend, Lance Scarsella, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. A fourth man, Joseph Backman, 27, was also taken into custody.
On November 30, Scarsella was charged with five counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, the Star-Tribune reports. He and the three other men were charged with second-degree riot while armed.
On Monday night, protesters who have been camping out near the 4th Police Precinct in North Minneapolis while protesting the death of Jamar Clark, said they were trying to get a group of armed white men, some wearing masks, to leave the area of the demonstration. The men then opened fire on the protesters. The victims are expected to survive.
“A group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights,” Miski Noor, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Noor told the newspaper the protesters tried to get the group away from the area, and the men then “opened fire” on about six demonstrators. The shooting occurred in an alley about a block from the 4th Police Precinct, Noor said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Gustavsson and Macey Turned Themselves In Tuesday
Gustavsson, of Hermantown, Minnesota, and Macey, of Pine City, turned themselves in to police Tuesday afternoon and were interviewed by investigators. They were later booked on suspicion of assault and held without bail at the Hennepnin County Jail, according to online records. Backman, of Minneapolis, later also turned himself in.
A fifth person, a 32-year-old Hispanic man who goes by the name “Saiga Marine” online, was brought in for questioning Tuesday, but released after police determined he was not at the protests Monday night.
A video taken at the scene shows the moments before the shooting, as the trio of men are approached by activists. There is no audio in the video, which was provided to News Talk 1130, and appears to have been shot by one of the shooting suspects. Watch it below:
You can read the probable cause statements filed in the case below:
2. Scarsella Was Arrested Earlier Tuesday
Lance Scarsella was taken into custody Tuesday in Bloomington, Minnesota, police said.
He was booked into the Hennepin County Jail on suspicion of assault at 6 p.m., and held without bail.
According to his Facebook page, Scarsella is originally from Lakeville, Minnesota, and now lives in Saint Paul. He was a student at the University of St. Thomas until last year.
3. Authorities Are Deciding Whether to Investigate the Shooting as a Hate Crime
Sources told the Star-Tribune that authorities are still deciding whether to investigate the shooting as a hate crime.
Also, federal investigators could get involved.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation is aware of the incident and is coordinating with the Minneapolis Police Department to assess the facts and determine if further federal action” is warranted, FBI spokesman Kyle Loven told the newspaper.
4. Police Were Aware of Threats Made Against the Protesters by Armed ‘White Supremacists’
According to City Pages, two men wearing camouflage with masks over their faces came to the protests last Friday night. Protesters said they felt threatened by the armed men.
“I don’t know if this is what [protesters] were planning, just standing here,” one of the white supremacists said, according to City Pages. “It’s almost as if they expect one of us to do something. They expect one of us to be in the wreckage of all this. It’s boiling. It’s going to be happening soon.”
A video posted by the two men (which can be watched above) was found online by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.
Police said last week they were aware of the threat to protesters.
“The Minneapolis Police Department has received information that a group may attempt to cause a disturbance this evening in front of the Police Department’s 4th Precinct,” police spokesman Scott Seroka said in a statement. “We are asking gathered demonstrators to be vigilant and report any actions that may seem out of the ordinary. If anyone notices something suspicious, please contact a nearby officer or call 9-1-1. A physical description, clothing description, and/or vehicle description is helpful. Also, please report any ‘out of the ordinary’ actions you have observed.”
5. Two Police Officers Are Under Investigation in the Clark Shooting
Jamar Clark, who was unarmed, was shot by in the head by a police officer on Sunday, November 15. He died the next night.
Police told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Clark, 24, was suspected in an assault, and was interfering with emergency workers trying to provide aid to a victim. He was shot during a physical struggle, police said. The police union says Clark was shot after he tried to take a gun from one of the officers, KARE reports.
But witnesses say Clark was not resisting arrest and was laying on the ground when he was shot, according to the NAACP. Witnesses have also claimed that Clark was in handcuffs before he was shot. Police deny those claims.
Teto Wilson, a witness, was quoted by the NAACP as saying, Clark “was just laying there. He was not resisting arrest. Two officers were surrounding the victim on the ground, an officer maneuvered his body around to shield Jamar’s body, and I heard the shot go off.”
A family member says Clark was shot in the head “execution style,” the Star-Tribune reports.
Protesters have demanded the release of videos that show parts of the shooting, but authorities say they will not release the video until the investigation is concluded. Officials say the investigation could take months to be completed. They say the video is not conclusive, and does not show the whole incident.
The demonstrators, made up mostly of members of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and the local NAACP, along with other community groups, have said they are willing to stay at the precinct as long as it takes to get justice and have their demands met.
Police said two officers, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, have been placed on paid leave, KARE-TV reports.
The shooting is being investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is part of the state Department of Public Safety.