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Minnesota man who shot 2 officers and a firefighter wasn’t allowed to have guns

By JOHN HANNA, Associated Press
Published: February 20, 2024, 1:17pm

A man who killed himself after fatally shooting two police officers and a firefighter in a wooded Minneapolis-area neighborhood wasn’t legally allowed to have guns after a previous assault conviction and was entangled in a yearslong dispute over the custody and financial support of his three oldest children, court records show.

Authorities on Monday identified Shannon Gooden, 38, as the man who opened fire on police in the suburb of Burnsville after they responded to a domestic disturbance call early Sunday. The unidentified caller reported that Gooden had barricaded himself in his home with family members, including seven children aged 2 to 15.

Authorities said Gooden killed Officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both 27, and Adam Finseth, 40, a firefighter and paramedic who was assigned to the city’s SWAT team. Another officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott, was shot and wounded.

Gooden was found dead inside the home hours later; authorities said Tuesday he shot himself in the head.

Gooden’s standoff with police came only two days before a scheduled district court hearing over his ongoing legal disputes with the mother of his three oldest children. The attorney representing Gooden in that dispute, Robert Manson, did not return a telephone message seeking comment. There was no answer Monday evening at a phone listing for a woman described in court records as Gooden’s girlfriend.

Court records show the state barred Gooden from possessing guns after he pleaded guilty in 2008, aged 22, to second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Prosecutors said he threw rocks and pulled a knife on a man in a Burnsville shopping mall parking lot.

Authorities have not provided details about Sunday’s call that led police to Gooden’s home.

Court records suggest he cared for seven children — the three oldest by one woman, two more with another and that woman’s two children from a previous relationship.

Court records also show his disputes over the parenting of his oldest three children had grown increasingly contentious. He accused their mother, Noemi Torres, of neglect and she called him “controlling” and accused him of abusing her and the children.

Torres told KARE-TV that their three kids, two boys aged 12 and 15 and a daughter, aged 14, were in the house during the standoff. She said that her daughter told Torres that Gooden put earmuffs on her before he started shooting and that she wasn’t scared until he asked, “Do you want to come with me?” meaning die with him.

Torres also told KARE-TV that Gooden had previously said he’d shoot police if she called 911 on him.

“I’m going to have a standoff,” Torres quoted him as saying, according to brief interview excerpts KARE-TV posted on social media. “I’m going to kill everybody.”

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Prosecutors had opposed Gooden’s effort to restore his right to possess guns after the 2007 incident, in which they said Gooden followed a young woman and a cousin from a mall to a parking lot and threatened to slash their tires. Gooden ran at the woman’s brother with a knife, but a security guard disarmed him, so Gooden threw rocks at the brother before speeding away in his own vehicle, prosecutors said.

Gooden finished serving five years’ probation for the 2007 assault charge in 2013.

When he petitioned a court unsuccessfully in 2020 to have his gun rights restored, he and his attorney said he had matured and that he regretted his past poor decisions.

“He is a good man to his peers and his family,” one longtime friend wrote to the judge in August 2020. “He has personally guided me and many others through some very tough times all through the kindness of his heart.”

Gooden said in a sworn statement: “I greatly regret and have learned from the poor decisions of my past. I would like to have a second chance to prove myself as a productive member of society.”

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