Amy Forliti, Associated Press, Published August 31 2012
UPDATED: Police fatally shoot 1 person at Minn. motelWOODBURY, Minn. — A four-hour standoff that involved multiple hostages at a motel in suburban St. Paul ended Friday with one man dead and another under arrest.
Authorities were talking to witnesses and potential victims to try to piece together what happened at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury. Police said the incident was centered on one room, where “serious criminal activity” was taking place, though they would not elaborate on what that activity was. The room had about 12 people in it when officers arrived.
One man was shot by police, and several other people in the room were injured, apparent victims of assault. The number of suspects, potential victims, and hostages was not immediately clear Friday.
No one else in the motel was hurt.
“We still have a lot of details that we do not have answers to,” Police Chief Lee Vague said. “This is an investigation that is absolutely going on right now.”
Vague said that at 1:10 a.m. Friday, authorities received an “open 911 call” in which a dispatcher could hear obvious signs of a struggle and what sounded like a mention of weapons.
Police who went to the Red Roof Inn weren't initially sure what kind of situation they had on their hands or from which room the call originated. At some point, Vague said, a gun was pointed at police and a shot was fired toward officers.
Vague said officers shot a man, who was taken to Regions Hospital, where he died.
Authorities said they were still investigating whether the man who was shot is the person who fired at officers. Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Senior Special Agent Drew Evans said the man was someone involved in the room.
Vague said that after the shooting, authorities knew many people were still in the room, some of them hostages. Washington County SWAT was called in, and at about 5 a.m., one man surrendered and was taken into custody.
Vague said there were numerous people he would describe as “witnesses, victims, subjects” but authorities were still trying to determine everyone's involvement.
“We know there was a lot of criminal activity that was going on inside that hotel room — serious criminal activity,” Vague said. “We know people were assaulted. And I'm really not in a position to give any of the details about what happened yet, because quite frankly, that's what we are trying to figure out.”
Evans said authorities recovered multiple weapons from the room. He did not elaborate.
The names of the dead man, the arrested man, and the three officers were not immediately released. The number of injured, and the extent of their injuries, also were not released.
The three officers who fired their weapons were put on paid administrative leave, which is standard.
“I can say that I've worked with these officers for a number of years, and I trust their judgment, and I know them to be good cops,” Vague said.
Evans said the BCA was assisting with the investigation, and investigating the officer-involved shooting. Crime scene investigators were also processing the motel room and surrounding areas for evidence.
By midmorning Friday, one building of the two-building motel and its surrounding parking lot were still cordoned off by police tape. More than a dozen police vehicles were at the motel, along with the BCA crime scene van.
The doors to the rooms are on the building's exterior, and there is a balcony on the second floor. Officers could be seen going in and out of a room on the second story.
“This is a tough day for us,” Vague said. “This is a situation we never want to have.”
The officers who were fired at were not injured. One SWAT officer was treated for a minor injury received during the incident.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.