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More than a hundred community members joined Tekle Sundberg's family and friends at a rally in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis on Saturday to express their outrage at the Minneapolis police force for killing him two days earlier.
Family members said Sundberg, 20, was experiencing a mental health crisis in his apartment complex when two snipers from the Minneapolis Police Department SWAT team fatally shot him on July 14. The snipers — officers Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine — were stationed on a rooftop across the street.
Minneapolis police were originally called to Sundberg's building on the night of July 13 when a tenant called 911 to report that someone was firing shots at her unit, endangering her and her two young children. They evacuated the building and then engaged in a six-hour standoff with Sundberg before shooting him dead.
Sundberg's family said Saturday that he preferred to be called Tekle Sundberg rather than the name Andrew Tekle Sundberg, which police released last week.
Sundberg's sister, Kesley Sundberg, said Saturday that her brother was going through a mental health crisis at the time. Adopted from Ethiopia at the age of 4, Sundberg was one of eight children in the Sundberg family, which includes biological children and several adopted children.
"A mental health crisis should not be a death sentence," she said. "It doesn't give the police the right to carry out an execution."
Tekle's family is asking the police to provide them with body camera footage immediately.
Minneapolis police shot and killed Andrew Tekle Sundberg from a rooftop across the street, new search warrants show.
Minneapolis police shot and killed Andrew Tekle Sundberg after a six-hour hiatus. The shooting is still under investigation.
In an unusual move, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension issued a press release Saturday asking for public assistance in the investigation into the shooting. The Bureau investigates when police kill civilians on the job.
The bureau said it was because a bystander captured video of the shooting, adding that it had not seen the footage in full. Parts of the video were broadcast by local media.
"In the interest of a thorough and complete investigation, the BCA is asking the person who filmed this video -- along with anyone else who has images, video or audio recordings of the incident -- to share with investigators," the office said.
Video, photos and audio can be submitted to the officeHere.
The Minneapolis Bureau and Police Department have not said what happened in the moments before Sundberg's death.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office also issued a news release Saturday saying Sundberg died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Parents say the police resisted their help
Sundberg's parents, Mark and Cindy Sundberg, have hired national civil rights attorney Ben Crump and local attorney Jeff Storms. Crump represented the family of George Floyd, who was killed in 2020 when then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
Crump shared a video with the Sundberg family on his Twitter account on Friday. The video, filmed by local journalist Georgia Fort, says Sundberg was killed on his mother's birthday. Police called Sundberg's parents to the scene, 904 21st Avenue South, to help negotiate with their son.
"The police are portraying it and the mayor is portraying it as if we worked together and the police have been kind and loving to our family in trying to help Tekle," Cindy Sundberg said in the video. "That's a lie. You weren't."
Cindy Sundberg, who is white, said she believes her son would be alive if he were white like her biological children.
"Everyone knows if there had been a white person in that building they would have talked him out, they would have waited," she said.
Mark Sundberg said in the video that he asked police if he could approach his son, but was denied. He also said the police told him they would not shoot his son.
"We promise he won't be shot," recalled Mark Sundberg when police told him. "'The only thing we're going to use is rubber bullets,' they said, and I was beginning to believe them. I thought, 'Maybe they've changed.' But no."
At Saturday's rally, Kelsey Sundberg criticized a Minneapolis Police Department press release issued on the day of the shooting, which said Sundberg's parents supported the negotiations "through phone calls, voicemails and video messages."
"Your testimony made it appear as if you were working with my parents," Kelsey Sundberg said. “They have restricted their access to him. They didn't let him close. My dad told them, he said, 'I can finish this. I can finish this in 10 minutes.'
“They kept telling my parents not to shoot. The whole time there were snipers on the roof. My parents were invited to the crime scene to see their son being helplessly executed and they welcomed it. How many more lives must be lost while you work on your reform plan, [Mayor] Jacob Frey?”
In the video Crump shared Friday, Cindy Sundberg said police "held us in this little cage area" by a nearby Taco Bell and "just let us answer — say things they told us."
Mark Sundberg said in the video that there were dozens of police officers at the scene and that he was planning to approach his son's home.
"If I could have walked to that door within the first 10 minutes of our arrival, it wouldn't have happened," said Mark Sundberg.
Mark and Cindy Sundberg also issued a written statement through Crump's office on Friday.
"First and foremost, we want the world to know that Tekle was deeply loved and that his family and friends are beyond shocked and saddened by these horrific events," they said. “…Like millions in America and around the world, Tekle struggled with his mental health. Although we have received very little information so far, it appears our Tekle is suffering from a mental crisis.
"We extend our deepest sympathy to everyone in his building affected by his crisis... Very little information has been received by the family as to why Tekle's mental health crisis became a death sentence. His family dismisses the public narrative that the Minneapolis Police Department's efforts were conducted in close cooperation with his family. His parents were severely limited in their ability to interact with Tekle and were not allowed to do anything to save their son's life."
His parents said he was artistic and enjoyed photography, painting and sunsets.
"Tekle was a deep, soulful, critical thinker..." they said.
A woman at Saturday's rally identified herself as Arabella Yarbrough and said she was the one who called 911 because gunshots went through her home. She told those attending the rally that she and her children were in danger the night of the shooting and was upset that she was not allowed access to her home as the shooting is still under investigation.
Sundberg's family, friends and rally organizers tried to speak to the woman before the participants finally continued their march.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Sundberg's funeral expenses:https://www.gofundme.com/f/honoring-tekle-funeral-expenses.
Additional reporting by Sahan Journal staff.