Officials condemn social media misinformation after officer shot in hand, 18-year-old hurt in St. Cloud

[anvplayer video=”4923303″ station=”998122″]

Monday, St. Cloud officials released additional information about an incident in which an officer was shot in the hand and an 18-year-old was arrested and hospitalized as protesters in St. Cloud headed to the police station.

In a release, St. Cloud police stated at about 12:09 a.m. officers attempted to stop and detain an 18-year-old along the 1000 block of 10th Avenue South.

Police said the 18-year-old resisted arrest and during a struggle, he produced a handgun, which went off and hit an officer in the hand. Police said the officer was taken to a nearby hospital with injuries not considered to be life-threatening.

The 18-year-old was also taken to the hospital due to injuries consistent with a laceration, police said.

Both individuals are in stable condition, police said.

During a news conference Monday morning, St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson provided additional information on the incident, stating officers received a report that the 18-year-old was outside a local business and had a firearm in his possession.

Anderson said two officers located the 18-year-old and took him into custody following a physical struggle. The 18-year-old faces numerous charges, Anderson said.

Anderson said neither of the responding officers discharged their weapons. 

Shortly after the incident, Anderson said a crowd of approximately 100 people formed and individuals began marching to the police station. Anderson said his department received information the group wanted to damage property, including the police station.

Anderson said, along the way, several properties were damaged and that four other people are in custody for minor charges, including obstruction, unlawful assembly and fleeing officers.

Anderson remarked on "how proud I am of our St. Cloud police officers."

"This was one of those situations that could have gone markedly different," Anderson said. "This was one of those situations, and let me be clear, as clear, because what I'm hearing across the nation is people asking, well, what constitutes the use of deadly force? This did. And our officers showed great restraint, great professionalism because that's how we do what we do."

Anderson also stated his perspective on the importance of dispelling incorrect information.

"Things can get blasted all over creation right now and it is very reckless in my opinion, it's very dangerous," Anderson said. "And this is the kind of thing that could have escalated. And I am deeply concerned about that kind of stuff." 

Other city leaders in attendance echoed those thoughts.

"One of the things Pastor (James) Alberts stated, which I do agree with, we have the right to feel angry, to protest, but we do not have the right to destroy," Denise Fale, president of the St. Cloud NAACP, said. "We have the right to have the facts. And the facts are the young man had a gun and just as Chief Anderson stated, the definition of deadly force would have been, the officer could have shot him but he showed tremendous amount of restraint and the young man is alive today."

View that news conference via the video player below.

Earlier Monday, police stated what has been shared on social media regarding the incident inaccurately reported what actually occurred.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is continuing the investigation.

This is a developing news story. KSTP is working to get more details on this story and will post updates as more information becomes available.

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