St. Paul police confirmed that three people were wounded in a shooting that unfolded outside the main gate of the Minnesota State Fair on the evening of September 2, 2019.
“We are investigating a pedestrian crash and shooting that occurred outside of the main gate of the Minnesota State Fair. One person confirmed shot, condition unknown at this time,” St. Paul police wrote on Twitter. However, in a later update, police said three people were shot. Police said they aren’t clear yet whether the pedestrian incident is related to the shooting, and no one is under arrest. The wounds were not fatal.
In a news release, police explained, “The first call for help came in just after 10 p.m. when officers working traffic duty outside the fair were called to the intersection of Snelling Avenue and Fair Place West on a report of a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle.”
Police rushed to the scene. “Officers arrived and found a chaotic scene surrounding a gravely injured 19-year-old woman lying in one of the northbound lanes of Snelling Avenue. She was breathing but unresponsive. Saint Paul Fire medics were called to the scene and they transported her to Regions Hospital, where she is currently in critical condition,” the release says.
“Witnesses reported that there had been a fight in the area just before the woman somehow ended up in the road and was struck by a passing vehicle. The driver of the vehicle initially stopped but left the scene after bystanders began kicking and hitting his vehicle. He drove a short distance away, pulled over and called 911. He is cooperating with investigators, who report no signs of impairment.”
A short time later, “several gunshots rang out about a block south of the crash scene as officers were rerouting traffic off of Snelling Avenue at the intersection of Midway Parkway. There were several officers in the immediate vicinity, and they ran toward the gunfire in an effort to find the shooter or shooters and help any victims,” the police news release states.
“One adult male was found suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Regions Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A short time later another victim arrived at United Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound and a third arrived at Regions Hospital with a gunshot wound. All three of the victims have been treated and are expected to survive.”
Here’s what you need to know:
A Police Spokesman Called the Shooting ‘Brazen’
You can see photos and videos from the scene throughout this article. The sound of gunshots sparked a panic at the fair.
Police heard from witnesses that there was a fight before a pedestrian was hit. Police called the later shooting “shockingly brazen, audacious…we’re lucky that more people weren’t injured.”
Police said that a person reported that passersby and people in the area started kicking and punching his car, so he drove away and found a safe spot and called 911.
At that time, officers were blocking traffic. “There were a lot of officers there. That’s when they heard shots ring out. Several gunshots were reported,” police reported.
Officers ran toward the sound. They didn’t find any suspects, but they did find an adult male suffering from a gunshot wound. It was “very chaotic.” There was a downpour at the same time.
A short time later, another man showed up at a hospital with a gunshot wound and said “he was outside the gates of the State Fair when he was shot.” A third person then showed up with a gunshot wound.
One 20-year-old was shot in the stomach or groin. The other 20-year-old was shot in the hand. An 18-year-old was shot in the shoulder.
Thus, there were three people shot. It was an “incredibly busy and chaotic night,” said police. No arrests had been made in the shooting outside the state fair, police said. The motive wasn’t clear.
“Breaking. Police officer tells me several people shot near parking lot by the #mnstatefair. People saying they will have to wait hours to get their cars,” journalist Cole Heath wrote on Twitter. He added, “Breaking: massive police presence outside the fairgrounds. Several officers ran by me apparently searching for someone in neighborhood across the stree(t).” Reporter Julie Nelson wrote, “St. Paul police now confirm they are investigating a shooting outside Main Gates at #mnstatefair.”
Heath later posted this update: “St. Paul police just updated me that At least one person shot and there are reports of other possible victims. Investigators say a person was also hit by a car near fair entrance and it’s unclear if the incidents are related. No word on anyone’s condition right now.”
You can listen to dispatch audio for St. Paul police and fire here. The communications between police and dispatchers indicated more than one person was possibly shot.
“You were with the first victim that was shot in the back and pelvis,” a dispatcher asked an officer at one point. The officer responded that he was with a victim shot “in his left hand.” The dispatcher then asked if there were three victims.
One person wrote on Twitter: “I was at the Minnesota State fair and we took a shuttle there and back, it’s 10pm and dark and we got on our shuttle bus and were waiting for it to take off, while we were waiting there was 8 consecutive gunshots right outside our bus and we all ducked down…someone was shot…” People started panicking that there could be an active shooter situation. “Hearing there was an active shooter at the @mnstatefair? Can you confirm? More info pls!!!? #mnstatefair #moreinfopls,” wrote one frightened person on Twitter. However, police have not yet provided additional details, and there’s no immediate confirmation of any active shooter situation.
Another woman wrote on Twitter, “fair employees at the stage i was working at says they were given the all clear for us to leave, saying shooting happened off fairgrounds but snelling is closed and all traffic is diverted to como. waiting on an escort to drive out now. #mnstatefair.” It’s not uncommon for false or contradictory information to circulate during reports of shootings.
People Shared Information on the Shooting on Social Media
“Wow a shooting at the fair and people getting run over by cars.. what the f*ck is wrong with yall,” wrote another person on Twitter. A woman wrote, “They shot up the Minnesota state fair… we can’t have sh*t!!!! Them innocent a*s people & these trigger happy Mfs just shoot at ANYBODY!!” A man named Tom Sachi wrote on Twitter: “Gunfire near the Midway Parkway Entrance too. People on buses had to hit the deck.”
Journalist Danny Spewak wrote on Twitter: “Seeing a lot of flashing lights right outside the fairgrounds at Midway and Snelling as the State Fair lets out on the final night. Also dealing with some heavy downpour.” A man wrote, “mfs…shot up the Minnesota State Fair smh.”
A woman wrote on Twitter: “This needs to f*cking stop. The Minnesota State Fair, for those unacquainted, is pretty different than state fairs in other states. It’s this absolutely gigantic multicultural, educational, very greasy treasure trove of memories and I’m so so sad that this has happened there.”
This post is being updated as more information is learned about what happened at the Minnesota State Fair.