Witnesses recount ‘unnerving’ officer-involved shooting scene in otherwise ‘quiet’ Stillwater

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Residents of the Curve Crest Villas apartment complex in Stillwater recounted witnessing an ‘unnerving’ active shooter scene that unfolded just walls away from them Saturday afternoon.

According to police and witness accounts, gunfire went off both in and outside the building not long before 2:30 p.m., ending in the death of the alleged shooter by police.

Saturday’s events struck many as out of place; like its name, those who live in the City of Stillwater describe it as “very still” and “quiet.”

“This isn’t something that happens in Stillwater,” said Police Chief Brian Mueller during a Saturday night press conference.

“I can’t project right now what was happening inside of the residence, but I can tell you that, like I said, there were numerous shots fired inside and outside prior to our arrival with several civilians that were hurt.”

Arriving officers were also met by bullets, Mueller said, which he believes hit a squad car before officers returned fire and hit the single male suspect. He died later at the hospital.

“I’m scared for what my officers faced, I’m scared for what the residents faced,” Mueller said with emotion.

It all unfolded in the sightline of dozens of windows.

“This all happened literally right in front of my patio,” said Curve Crest Villas resident Janette Scherer.

She continued, “All the bullet markings were right from my bedroom window all the way to my daughter’s bedroom window.”

Scherer was home Saturday afternoon and was thankful her daughter wasn’t.

“I heard, it was probably six to 10 gunshots, and it sounded really close,” she recalled. “I had never heard gunshots before, but I knew immediately what it was.”

Scherer said that was the first thing she heard, and then there was a pause.

That’s when she said, “I noticed my patio door was open, so I quickly ran over, slammed that shut and locked it, and then went back. I was literally hiding in the kitchen.”

Twenty to 30 more gunshots rang out, Scherer said, before all went quiet.

“I went and looked out my bedroom window, and then I saw a man lying right over here on the ground,” she said, referring to the pavement in front of her patio. “And [first responders] flipped him over and started doing chest compressions.”

Another apartment resident withheld her name because of her job title but said she was a witness as well.

“I saw him coming out of the building. I saw him shooting,” the resident said Sunday morning. “It’s just very unnerving, very unsettling.”

Both residents were thankful for what they described as a fast police response and said it’s made them feel secure.

Mueller said the Stillwater Police Department was assisted by seven other agencies: Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Oak Park Heights Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Bayport Police Department, Woodbury Public Safety Department, Stillwater Fire Department, Lakeview EMS and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

No officers were hurt, but Mueller said two to three civilians were, likely at the hands of the alleged shooter.

The BCA on Sunday would not comment on an exact number of people hurt, the current conditions of those hurt, or whether any officers were placed on standard administrative leave.

An update on the investigation can be expected likely mid-week, a spokesperson said.