Paramedic, Two Police Officers Shot and Killed in Burnsville, MN

Feb. 18, 2024
A paramedic tending to three police officers who were shot during a domestic dispute in Burnsville died.

Editor's note: Burnsville officials annouced that firefighter/paramedic Adam Finseth and police officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge were killed in this morning's shooting. 

Law enforcement sources tell the Pioneer Press that three Burnsville officers were shot — two fatally — and a Burnsville fire paramedic was also killed this morning in Burnsville.

A city spokesperson confirmed an incident happened this morning in the 12000 block of 33rd Avenue S., but was not yet willing to share details. The law enforcement source says that police were called to a residence on a domestic incident when shots were fired. The shooting was in a residential area just northwest of the I-35E and Cedar Avenue junction.

It appears to be the first time a Burnsville police officer has been killed in the line of duty and the deadliest public safety incident since 1994 when two St. Paul police officers and a police dog were fatally shot.

Officers massed near 33rd Avenue and East Burnsville Parkway about 5:30 a.m., a witness told KSTP. The witness heard shots fired and said a shelter-in-place order was then transmitted to mobile devices, according to the station.

A family member of one of the police officers was near Kelleny Road and East Burnsville Parkway Sunday morning weeping as he waited for a police escort. Markus, who works for Delta airlines, rushed to the scene as soon as his mother told him that his older brother had been killed while on duty. He said he always worried about his brother being a police officer.

Pat Knaeble, 68, a retired fire captain and paramedic with the Burnsville Fire Department for nearly 30 years, lives up the road from where the shooting took place.

He woke up to the chaotic scene outside his home and watched SWAT team members bring three victims to the front of his house where they were put into waiting ambulances, he said.

Having a fellow firefighter shot was hard to comprehend.

“It was like ‘holy crap!'” he said. “It was one in a lifetime…firefighters never get shot. It just doesn’t happen. For that to happen is a huge fluke and just very, very sad. It’s like losing a family member.”

An abandoned fire engine was parked in front of his house six hours later, engine still idling.

“In my 28 years, never ever, ever has a truck ever sat without a firefighter in it. Ever,” he said.

The fact that the truck had been sitting there abandoned and idling since 5 a.m. meant that the people assigned to the truck were grieving so much, either down at the hospital or at the fire station, that they had forgotten all about the truck.

“That kind of tells you the severity of it,” he said.

Ron Payne, 78, former Burnsville Fire Chief, also lives nearby. He said he’s lived in the area since 1983 and that the neighborhood is quiet and has never had anything of a serious nature occur there.As former chief, he keeps in touch with the firefighters and that they are all in his thoughts on this somber day.

“I’m very concerned,” he said. “For my friends and people I’ve known and worked with.”

He was leaving his home Sunday morning to head over to the fire station to offer moral support, he said.

A city spokesperson anticipates a news conference will be held in the coming hours.

A massive law enforcement presence was at the scene Sunday, including personnel from the Dakota and Hennepin county sheriff’s offices along with the Savage, Bloomington, Eagan, Lakeville and Rosemount police departments.

A SWAT vehicle had multiple bullet holes visible on its windshield, WCCO reports.

At Hennepin Healthcare in downtown Minneapolis, police and first responders from multiple cities were gathered to show support, according to WCCO.

Meanwhile, Minnesota politicians and law-enforcement agencies flooded social media with condolences:

“We received horrific news from Burnsville this morning, said Gov. Tim Walz in a statement. “While responding to a call of a family in danger, two police officers and one firefighter lost their lives, and other officers were injured.”

He called it a “tragic loss” for Minnesota.

Walz said he is ordering flags to be flown at half staff starting at sunrise Monday morning.

“Learned from police this morning that three officers have been shot in Burnsville,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said on X. “They were doing their jobs. They were protecting our community.”

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association posted on X, “We are heartbroken. Our law enforcement community is heartbroken.  We’re just devastated at the horrific loss. These heroes leave behind loved ones and a community who will forever remember their bravery and dedication keeping Minnesotans safe.”

“My heart is broken for the brave officers and first responder lost in the line of duty, their families, the Burnsville Police Department and our entire community. For these public servants, this was just another day delivering on their oath to protect and serve – to keep Minnesotans safe. And now their families – and the city of Burnsville – will never be the same,” said U.S. Representative Angie Craig in a statement.

This is a developing story and will be updated as officials release more information.

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