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No serious injuries as cops fire at suspects in 2 incidents 4-30-07

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Two Minneapolis police officers fired at gun-toting suspects in two separate incidents Monday. There were no serious injuries, but Chief Tim Dolan said officers are dealing with an increasing number of gun-pointing scenarios.

“This was a very unusual day,” he said.

The first incident happened about noon Monday, when a man pointed a sawed-off shotgun at Officer Tony Adams' marked squad car on the city's North Side. There was a chase and an exchange of gunfire.

About three hours later, two would-be robbers went into a bathroom at Legend's Bar & Grill in Northeast Minneapolis and came out wearing ski masks and pointing guns, said Deputy Chief Rob Allen.

Sgt. Bill Blake happened to be at the bar, with his cousin Steve Blake, a member of Minneapolis' Police Community Relations Council. Bill Blake was on duty and in plain clothes.

Steve Blake, who is also chairman of the Twin Cities American Indian Movement patrol, said when the robbers came out of the bathroom, they yelled at the 15 customers and employees “to give it up,” he said. But Bill Blake was already crouched in a stance, gun pointing at the robbers, Steve Blake said.

Bill Blake shouted “police” and ordered the men to drop their guns. When they pointed the weapons at Bill Blake, he fired at least two shots, Steve Blake said.

A gun was shot out of one man's hand, Allen said. Pieces of the gun were found inside the bar.

“People were scattering for the doors and diving under tables,” Steve Blake said. “Bill chased after them, but then came back into the bar to make sure everybody was OK.”

The suspects didn't fire any shots, police said. The injured robber turned himself in, but the other was still free late Monday.

“I'm very proud of my cousin,” Steve Blake said. “He should get a medal.”

The case involving Adams could have ended with multiple victims, said Fourth Precinct Inspector Lee Edwards.

Adams had heard shots nearby and saw two males with guns come around a corner. One pointed his shotgun at Adams. The officer fired several times. The suspects jumped into a car driven by a woman, Edwards said, and Adams chased it. Shots were fired by the suspects and Adams shot out the car's back window.

The suspects stopped and one male got out and again pointed his sawed-off gun at Adams. He fled, but Adams arrested the man and woman in the car.

At that point, Adams found a baby strapped into a car seat inside, Edwards said. Adams couldn't see the child through the car's tinted windows.

“That really rattled him,” he said.

The third man was arrested a short time later.

Blake and Adams, both veteran officers, were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure, Dolan said.

Both officers handled “these situations very, very well,” he said.
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