Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright over the weekend mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her taser and that the shooting was accidental, The Hill reported.
“It appeared to me, from the video, that the individual was trying to get back into his car to leave,” Gannon said in a press conference. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.”
A tragic scene
Body cam footage released to the press showed one officer shouting “Tase him!” several times as police tried to arrest Wright and he tried to get back into his car. The officer then drew her gun and shot Wright.
She immediately yelled, “S—! I shot him” and dropped the gun, according to the footage.
After the shooting, Wright drove several blocks until his car crashed, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers discovered after stopping him that he had a warrant out for his arrest.
“This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” Gannon said.
Police chief overwhelmed
The police chief tried to step away from the podium during the press conference but was asked to take more questions. He seemed overwhelmed, but did his best to be thorough.
“I’m used to doing the handoff with the [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)] and I apologize for that. Normally, the BCA steps in and they do a lot of the talk about the investigations. That’s what I’m used to,” Gannon said.
“Please realize in an officer-involved shooting what happens is I have no contact with that investigation because I don’t want to taint that investigation,” he went on.
The officer who shot Wright has been put on leave until the investigation is completed, and it seems likely that she will be fired over the incident.
The incident has already led to Sunday night protests in the area, which is on edge because of the Derek Chauvin trial taking place 10 miles away. Several stores were damaged, and police used chemical irritants to disperse the crowd.
Wright’s mother Katie Wright urged protesters to remain peaceful when she spoke to reporters Sunday. “All the violence, if it keeps going, it’s only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason,” she said, according to The Associated Press.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said the shooting was “deeply tragic” and that the city would do “everything we can to ensure that justice is done and our communities are made whole.” Elliott also said President Joe Biden called him to offer support.