Advertisement

These are the Minnesota officers and firefighter killed while responding to a domestic incident

A community is in mourning Monday, a day after two police officers and a firefighter were fatally shot in Burnsville, Minnesota, while responding to a domestic incident.

Officials identified the three men as officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both 27 years old, and 40-year-old firefighter-paramedic Adam Finseth.

“We’re hurting. Today, three members of our team made the ultimate sacrifice for this community,” Burnsville Police Chief Tanya Schwartz said at a news conference Sunday. “They are heroes.”

Officials had responded around 1:50 a.m. to a home in Burnsville – about 15 miles south of Minneapolis – where a man was reported to be armed and barricaded inside with family members, according to a news release from the city Sunday.

At some point, the subject inside opened fire, Drew Evans, the superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, told reporters at a news conference Sunday. At least one of the responders was killed inside the home, he said, and several officers returned fire.

The suspect was identified Monday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office as Shannon Gooden, 38. He had “several guns and a large amount of ammunition” and died in the incident, Evans said. Seven children who were inside the home, ages 2 to 15, were able to leave and are safe.

The medical examiner’s office on Monday said all three first responders’ deaths were ruled a homicide. Medical examiner reports say Elmstrand was shot multiple times, Ruge was hit in the chest and Finseth had a gunshot wound to his right arm and torso.

Another officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott, was injured and hospitalized. He was believed to have non-life-threatening injuries, the city said.

The deaths of Elmstrand and Ruge while on the job make them the seventeenth and eighteenth law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty so far this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. As of Monday morning, six of those deaths were attributed to gunfire, the page said.

“We must never take for granted the bravery and sacrifices our first responders make each and every day,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement. “Today, the families of these public servants received the call they knew was possible but hoped would never come. My heart is with those grieving families – the State of Minnesota stands ready to support in any way we can.”

Here’s a look at the late first responders, and who they were.

Paul Elmstrand, 27

Elmstrand joined the Burnsville police force in August 2017 as a community service officer, Evans said Sunday. He was promoted to officer about two years later.

Elmstrand was a member of the Burnsville Police Department’s mobile command staff, peer team, honor guard and field training unit.

His wife, Cindy Elmstrand-Castruita, told CNN affiliate WCCO on Sunday they went to school together since kindergarten, started dating in high school and were married five years ago. They have two children, a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old, WCCO reported.

“He was the most generous, loving, patient person I’ve ever known,” she said. “He could have a conversation with anyone and make them feel seen. He would drop everything to help someone who was in need, whether it be family, friend or someone on the street,” she said.

“I think he just had to be the hero. He had to do what he thought was right to protect those little lives even if it meant putting his at risk and it breaks my heart because now he’s gone. But I know that he thought what he did was right,” she said.

Matthew Ruge, 27

Ruge had been a member of the Burnsville Police Department since April 2020, Evans said. He served on its crisis negotiations team and was a physical evidence officer.

A former neighbor, Robin Gwaltney, told CNN affiliate KARE she was “not at all surprised he became a police officer, because he was all about doing nice things for people.”

When her father was dying, Gwaltney said, Ruge spent time with him.

“Unfortunately, his life was cut way too short,” Gwaltney said, “because he was a first-rate person.”

Adam Finseth, 40

Finseth had been a Burnsville firefighter-paramedic since 2019, Evans told reporters, and was assigned to a SWAT team that responded to the incident.

Prior to working in Burnsville, Finseth served the cities of Savage and Hastings, Fire Chief BJ Jungmann said Sunday.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com