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One man dead, 'person of interest' detained after shooting in Duluth's East Hillside

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An ambulance waits in the alley behind 510 E. 11th St. in Duluth after a shooting occurred at the East Hillside residence on Tuesday afternoon. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)2 / 5
Law enforcement officers work the scene on the 500 block of East 11th Street in Duluth after a shooting occured at an East Hillside residence Tuesday afternoon. This is the sixth shooting in Duluth in 25 days. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)3 / 5
A Duluth police officer guards the front door at 510 E. 11th St. in Duluth after a shooting occurred at the East Hillside residence Tuesday afternoon. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)4 / 5
Duluth police officers responded to a 911 call that reported shots fired on the 500 block of East 11th Street around 2 p.m. Tuesday. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com) 5 / 5

One person is dead after a shooting in Duluth’s East Hillside neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon, and a “person of interest” was being detained Tuesday night.

Duluth police responded to a 911 call reporting shots fired at 510 E. 11th Street at about 2 p.m. Tuesday. The victim, a 22-year-old man, was taken from the home on a gurney, witnesses said, and transferred by Gold Cross Ambulance to a local hospital. Police confirmed just before 5 p.m. that the victim had died.

Police remained on the scene into the evening hours, and at 8 p.m. Duluth police reported that its officers — as well as several agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — were executing search warrants in connection with the case.

A “person of interest” had been detained but no arrests had been made as of 8 p.m., Duluth police said, with the investigation expected to continue overnight.

Authorities said they expect to issue more information on the case on Wednesday morning; check duluthnewstribune.com for updates on Wednesday.

A Duluth police officer works to clear the area near 510 E. 11th St. in Duluth on Tuesday after a shooting. (Clint Austin / DNT)

Mayor Emily Larson said in a statement Tuesday night that she wanted to assure the Duluth community that the police department is “fully engaged” and has responded swiftly to make progress to resolve the case.

“When a person is harmed in our community, our whole community is harmed. Today, tragically so. Our condolences go to the victim’s family and friends. As a parent, this is simply heartbreaking news,” she said in the statement.

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken told the News Tribune that preliminary information indicated that the incident may have been related to a home invasion or robbery.

The shooting took place in a small, single-story house that neighbors said has been college rental property for several years.

Eleventh Street is a dead-end in that area, just off Central Entrance, below Skyline Parkway and two blocks west of Myers-Wilkins Elementary School. School district officials said the school was placed in a precautionary lockdown on request of police after the shooting. School was already out by that time but some students still were in the building for extracurricular activities.

More than 20 squad cars converged at the scene within minutes of the first 911 call, with many officers searching backyards, alleys and woods with their guns drawn. Several dogs also were used to search for a suspect outside the home.

Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol and Minnesota State Patrol also were at the scene.

Duluth police officers interview a bystander after a shooting  at an East Hillside residence Tuesday. (Clint Austin / DNT)

Residents interviewed during the incident said the neighborhood has mostly avoided serious violence.

“I’ve lived here since 1958 and we’ve never had anything like this before. We’ve had some car break-ins, but no shooting before,” said Ken Cusick, who lives just down the block and across the street from the house where the shooting took place.

Klay Longstreet said he’s lived on 11th Street for nearly 20 years.

“We have a lot of rentals on this block, so there are parties, the usual college stuff, but nothing serious,” he said.

Theresa Wanless said she lives just two blocks from the shooting. She said she still trusts law enforcement to find the guilty parties and keep control of the city’s streets.

“But it’s just two blocks from the school. And there have been lots of shootings. It’s very scary,” she said.

Wanless said she’s not convinced that the shootings are unrelated or that city officials are correct saying it’s not part of a larger problem.

“Now, after this, being so close to my home, I’m not so sure," she said, lamenting the lack of information released after each shooting.

“It’s unfortunate we only get short answers” from police, she said.

The home at 510 E. 11th St. in Duluth where a fatal shooting occurred on Tuesday afternoon. (Clint Austin / DNT)

The case would mark the first homicide in Duluth since October, when 47-year-old Eric Wayne Burns was fatally shot outside a Lincoln Park bar. Aaron Demetrius Humphreys, 42, has been charged with intentional second-degree murder in that case.

It’s also the second shooting death in the Twin Ports this year. Kyle Androsky, 21, was killed outside a Superior bar on the morning of Jan. 1, with his brother also suffering a gunshot wound. Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for 25-year-old Jamar Maurice Smith, who remains in custody in Minnesota, but have not charged him or anyone else with the actual shooting.

Tuesday’s shooting is the sixth in Duluth in less than four weeks. Victims have suffered varying levels of injuries, but until Tuesday’s shooting no deaths had been reported.

Police have said the incidents are an “anomaly,” brought on by a number of factors, including increased availability of firearms, but have said there are no clear connections between any of the incidents.

“We haven’t seen a spike of shootings like this in my career,” said Tusken, who has been with the department for 25 years, shortly after Tuesday’s incident was reported.

Other shootings reported recently in Duluth:

  • A 28-year-old man was shot inside the Lake Superior Bottle Shop, 31 E. First St., on Jan. 21. A suspect, Darius Handy, was arrested and quickly pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.
  • A 17-year-old male suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he was shot at 702 E. Fourth St. on Jan. 26. Police have said they have a person of interest in that case.
  • A 25-year-old man was shot three times following a dispute outside a residence at 2713 W. Second St. on Jan. 29. A 27-year-old suspect has been arrested and charged in that case.
  • A 37-year-old man was injured when he was shot outside a house party at a residence on the 100 block of North 65th Avenue West on Feb. 4. An errant bullet also struck a second residence, but no one was injured at that address. No arrests have been announced in that case.
  • A 19-year-old man was injured when gunfire was exchanged between moving vehicles on Interstate 35 in Duluth on Feb. 5. Three men were taken into custody and formally charged Monday in that case, which police said stemmed from an alleged robbery during a drug deal.

Anyone with information about any of the recent incidents is asked to call the Duluth Police Department's Violent Crimes Unit at (218) 730-5050 or 911.

News Tribune reporter Lisa Kaczke contributed to this report.

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