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Black suspect in killings of Minnesota first responders had been banned for life from possessing firearms

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Feb 21, 2024, 5:07:29 AMFeb 21

The gunman suspected in the fatal shootings of two Minnesota police
officers and a paramedic during a domestic violence standoff in a
Minneapolis suburb was serving a lifetime ban from possessing firearms at
the time of the deadly encounter, according to court documents.

The suspect, 38-year-old Shannon Cortez Gooden, was issued the lifetime
firearms ban following a 2008 conviction for second-degree assault with a
deadly weapon in Dakota County, Minnesota, according to court records
reviewed by ABC News. Gooden petitioned in 2020 to have his gun rights
restored, claiming, "I would like to be able to protect not only myself
but my family as well," according to the documents.

A judge, however, denied Gooden's petition on Oct. 9, 2020, after
prosecutors cited other encounters Gooden had with police since his
conviction and two orders of protection filed against him alleging
domestic assault and abuse. In one of the incidents cited, a woman who
Gooden used as a character witness in his attempt to get his gun rights
restored, had filed an order of protection against him in 2017, alleging
he "head-butted" her and threw her down a flight of stairs, according to
the court documents.

Despite his petition being rejected, investigators said Gooden was armed
with multiple firearms when he barricaded himself inside a Burnsville,
Minnesota, home with family members, including seven children ranging from
2 to 15 years old.

Goodwin allegedly opened fire on officers who responded to the domestic
violence incident, killing Burnsville police officers Paul Elmstrand and
Matthew Ruge, and Burnsville firefighter and paramedic Adam Finseth,
according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The Hennepin
County Medical Examiner's Office said the 27-year-old Elmstrand was shot
multiple times; Ruge, also 27, was shot in the chest and Finseth, 40,
suffered bullet wounds to the right arm and torso.

A third Burnsville police officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott, 38, was
hospitalized with injuries from the shooting, officials said. Medlicott
was released from the hospital on Monday.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner announced Tuesday that Gooden died
from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators have yet to say how Gooden obtained the firearms and
ammunition used in the attack.

"Criminals don't follow the law, and we have to be better prepared on the
whole criminal justice system to react," state Sen. Warren Limmer, a
Republican, said on Monday following a moment of silence for the slain
first responders at the state capital.

State Sen. Ron Latz, a Democrat, added: "We do background checks, we've
got the red flag laws, all these are pieces of the puzzle and data shows
that they will have an effect and reducing violence in our communities,
but you're not going to catch every situation. It's just not possible."

The fatal incident unfolded about 2 a.m. Sunday when Burnsville police
were called to a home on a report of a domestic situation in progress
involving an armed man barricaded with family members, according to a
statement from Burnsville city officials.

Elmstrand, Ruge and Finseth were killed during a gunfight between Gooden
and the police officers that erupted soon after the first responders
arrived at the scene, officials said.

Gooden is believed to have died from suicide around 8 a.m. Sunday and
family members barricaded with him emerged from the home uninjured,
according to officials.

In his denied petition to get his gun rights restored, Gooden argued that
he had rehabilitated himself since his 2007 arrest, in which he was
accused of threatening a family with a knife outside a shopping mall.

"I completed an anger management course as well as a parenting course,"
Gooden wrote in his petition, adding he had a steady job at the time and
had earned an associate's degree at a technical college. "I am in a loving
and committed relationship with my girlfriend. I have five children, ages
8, 10, 11, 2, and 11 months that I love and care for dearly. I do all I
can to provide for them. I also provide for my girlfriend's two kids who
are 8 and 10 years old."

While Gooden listed in the petition a series of misdemeanor traffic
offenses against him, the judge that denied his request cited other more
serious crimes he was accused of, including the two orders of protection
filed against him that he did not list.

The most recent order of protection was filed against him in July 2020 by
a woman who was barricaded in the house with Gooden during Sunday's
incident, according to court records. The woman, who has children with
Gooden, claimed in her request for an order of protection that Gooden had
told his then-girlfriend to beat her up while they were arranging for a
child exchange.

The woman also claimed that in 2014, Gooden "grabbed a knife and cut her
clothes and sideswiped her foot," causing her to fall down a set of
stairs. She alleged in the petition that Gooden was "going to kill her."

Meanwhile, a procession was underway Tuesday afternoon as hundreds of law
enforcement officers in patrol cars with flashing emergency lights
escorted two black hearses carrying the bodies of Elmstrand and Ruge from
the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office in Minnetonka to a funeral
home in Jordan. Many local residents lined the 26-mile precession route,
some saluting the hearses or placing their hands over their hearts as they
went by. Firefighters also parked their engines on highway overpasses and
displayed American flags as the procession passed.

A similar procession played out Monday as Finseth's body was escorted from
Minnetonka to the Jordan funeral home.

Details on funeral services for the three fallen first responders are
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