A Minneapolis Park Police officer was stabbed Tuesday night while investigating a fake robbery call that turned into an ambush along Minnehaha Creek at Bryant Avenue South.
Police said there was never any robbery, and the suspect -- 38-year-old Marsenior Pede Johnson -- admitted to calling 911 in order to lure officers to him so he could assault them.
The officers were searching for a suspect in the bogus knifepoint robbery report along Minnehaha Creek around 11:30 p.m. About 15 minutes later, the officers approached a man near a pedestrian bridge on the south side of the creek, near the intersection of West Minnehaha Parkway and Bryant Avenue South.
When the officers went to make contact with the man, who they thought was the victim of the reported robbery, he stabbed the male officer in the chest with a knife. The officer's life was saved by his body armor, which prevented the knife from penetrating.
The suspect then stabbed the female officer in the upper back. She also sustained a cut to her head when she fell to the street. The male officer then shot and disabled Johnson. The suspect and injured officer were taken to HCMC for treatment.
"My overwhelming concern is for the injured officer and her family," Minneapolis Park Police Chief Linda Bergstrom said. "We are very fortunate that these officers were not more seriously injured or killed."
Johnson is currently under guard at HCMC in stable condition. He will be booked into jail for second-degree assault when he is medically able.
"I think, last night, the park police got very lucky. This very well could have been a one-man squad to take a report," said Sgt. Bill Palmer, spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department. "This could have been a Minneapolis police officer. This could have been officers from any agency in the metro area. For what reason this gentleman picked this perticular area, I don't think we know."
Johnson has a criminal history that includes past convictions for theft, tampering with vehicles, domestic assault and property damage. Those convictions stem from Dakota, Hennepin, Washington and Nobles counties.
This is the second time a Minneapolis Park Police officer has been involved in a shooting in which standard patrol officers were not involved. The last officer-involved shooting was in 1977.
Both officers are on paid administrative leave, which is standard. Palmer said they are at home recovering with their families and have asked for privacy.
These are the kinds of things that cause a great deal of stress in officers' lives because it can -- to a degree, really can -- cause a lot of thinking about why are we doing this for a living," Palmer said. "This is a tough job and a dangerous job."
That's something those two officers, who have a combined total of 13 years on the force, are painfully aware of.
"Both officers responded courageously. The Park Police and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are very proud of how our officers reacted in the face of great personal danger," said Lt. Jason Ohotto with the Minneapolis Park Police. "Aside from the challenge of what the situation is on it's face, these officers are doing relatively well."