As gunshots rang out Monday night outside City Hall in New Hope, Minnesota, a council member in the middle of a meeting pulled out his own handgun and was ready to protect his colleagues, if need be, tense moments which were captured on camera. The gunman who opened fire injured two police officers before being fatally shot by law enforcement.
A local Fox affiliate reported that the gunman, who was armed with what was described as a “long gun,” opened fire into a group of officers as they were leaving a swearing-in ceremony. Two officers were struck by gunfire, although reports differ whether it was the newly-sworn officers who were hit.
While shots were fired outside of City Hall, City Council members were in the middle of a meeting, which was being filmed for a cable-access channel. As members discussed the issues at hand, shots could be heard on the video. John Elder, a council member who is also the Public Information Officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, immediately yelled to everyone in the meeting, “Get down! Get down! Everybody get down!”
Moments later another council members is heard saying, “That went right through the door. Somebody got shot.”
Elder again told everyone to get down and take cover, before he said, presumably to the person operating the camera, “If this is being taped, go to commercial, go away from this.” At that point, the camera keeps rolling, but the audio goes silent.
Elder could then be seen sitting calmly on his chair, with a pistol drawn and trained at the door, likely waiting in case the gunman were to enter the room. Other council members could be seen taking cover behind the desk, while others present could be seen lying on the floor and beneath chairs.
The suspect, who was later identified as 68-year-old Raymond Kmetz, never entered the meeting room, but was fatally shot by an officer in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center.
The injured officers were transported to a local hospital and are expected to survive.
Authorities said Kmetz had a history of mental illness, as well as a lengthy history of run-ins with law enforcement. Although there is no clear motive at this time, Kmetz had a about a dozen restraining orders against him and his family was said to have previously warned law enforcement that he had threatened to bring a shotgun into another City Hall several months ago.