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

(NEW YORK) — 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.”

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