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New Hope City Council the latest shooting scene

On last night’s shootout at a New Hope City Council meeting, Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib reports, “A volley of gunfire erupted outside the New Hope City Council meeting Monday night when a man shot at a group of police officers, injuring two of them. Officers returned fire, killing the man. … New Hope City Council Member John Elder, a former police officer and currently a public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, appears in the video, behind the council desk with his gun drawn and pointed toward the door to the chambers. The audio on the video then goes silent.”

Colleagues Paul Walsh and Karen Zamora write, “Court records show that the gunman, Raymond K. Kmetz, had a history of threats of violence and was taken down in 2009 by a New Hope police officer’s Taser, when Kmetz failed to follow orders while the officer attempted to arrest him. … an earlier disappointment for Raymond Kmetz while dealing with New Hope city government, the council rebuffed his effort in 2008 to sell his longtime home in the 2900 block of Nevada to the city for nearly $1 million, even though it was worth well below half that amount. The council rejected the unsolicited offer. Kmetz had pushed the property, saying it was in an industrial zone that was ripe for development. The property was last sold in 2013 for $140,000 and now is boarded up.”

A trio of MPR reporters say, “Raymond Kmetz, 68, a former landscaper, is the man killed after opening fire in the New Hope City Hall Monday night, wounding two officers, Kmetz’s brother said Tuesday. ‘He was a landscaping contractor and then when the recession come, he basically went out of business, and that’s when he started getting these delusions or whatever about he was mistreated by the cities and the police department,’ said Kmetz’s brother, who asked that his first name not be used.” 

Also in local gun mayhem. Sarah Horner and Elizabeth Mohr of the PiPress have this on the shooting of the teacher/bar owner in Mahtomedi last weekend. “On Monday, [Bailey Jordan Garcia] was charged with second-degree murder in the death of David Frigaard, 46, whose body was found in his pickup early Saturday near Wildwood Beach Road and Mahtomedi Avenue in Mahtomedi. … After first saying he shot a few deer near Stillwater Road and Mahtomedi Avenue, Garcia admitted to aiming the rifle outside his SUV at a pickup truck at the same intersection and firing the weapon, the complaint said. He said he had consumed three beers and a shot of rum before the incident. Frigaard’s pickup was found near where Garcia admitted firing his rifle, the complaint said.”

And in the case of the shooting of Mendota policeman Scott Patrick, Matt McKinney of the Strib says, “A Sprint phone company official said a cellphone tied to Brian G. Fitch was busy on the morning of July 30, with 25 phone or text messages going out or coming in, plus an outgoing phone call at 12:56 p.m. that day. That was the day Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick was shot about 12:20 p.m. during a routine traffic stop. Fitch stands accused of gunning down the officer and later getting into a shootout with police officers before he was shot eight times and taken into custody.”

Not so completely unrelated. Mara Gottfried reports, “At least 23 people were killed as a result of domestic violence in the state last year, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women said Tuesday. The group’s annual femicide report has been tallying such homicides since 1989. Last year, 16 women and two men were killed, allegedly at the hands of current or former intimate partners, according to the report released Tuesday. Another six friends, family members or others died in domestic-violence situations.”

On the governor’s education plan, here’s the MPR story from Catharine Richert. “Facing a divided Legislature, Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a $42 billion two year budget that includes new spending for child care tax credits, child protection and education. Dayton said the vast majority of new spending in his budget proposal is focused on education and child health. … Dayton’s budget includes $17 million for K-12 education with $373 million in new money, and an additional $93 million for higher education. It also includes an expansion of a child care tax credit that will cost the state $100 million. Another $44 million will go to child protection and mental health services.” All instead of … wait for it … tax relief for job creators!

Very cool. MPR’s Elizabeth Baier says, “After nine years of epileptic seizures and no success stopping them, Sheri Finstad was ready to try an experiment. In October, she came to Rochester, where Mayo Clinic doctors implanted a device in her brain designed to deliver mild electrical pulses and record the brain’s reaction. It’s a stimulation therapy used typically to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Finstad, a 32-year-old social worker from Fargo, became one of two patients to try it for epileptic seizures after federal regulators OK’d an exemption. Since the surgery, she’s had dizziness and headaches — but just one seizure.”

Change is afoot for the Walker Sculpture Garden. Steve Brandt of the Strib says, “A group that’s advising the $10 million revamping of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is opting toward crossing its 16th-century formality with 21st-century sustainability. That means reinforcing the formality of the garden’s south end and leaving the garden’s signature Spoonbridge and Cherry where it is. But it also means adding a wilder-appearing area at the garden’s north end for both artwork and stormwater, and some potentially radical changes for the heat-leaking glass conservatory. The proposed new look for the north end would create three grassed circles with radii ranging from 45 to 75 feet in the midst of an area that will be sometimes wet, sometimes dry as runoff dictates.”

Poor Scott Walker. While the Koch Brothers love him, he’s got problems with progressive rock bands. Elade Izadi of the Washington Post reports, “It’s become a staple of politics: a politician walks onstage to a song. Musician gets mad. The latest flare-up came when the punk band Dropkick Murphys instructed Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to ‘please stop using our music in any way,’ they tweeted, then added: ‘We literally hate you !!!’ … This response isn’t all that surprising, given the band’s support for union rights.”


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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/27/2015 - 04:45 pm.

    I’m guessing

    that the council members who were trapped in those council chambers when they heard the gunfire erupt were happy as heck that someone in their midst had a permit to carry.

    Imagine the panic if the shooter had made his way into the council chambers and the people sitting there were defenseless. Yep, way to go Mr. Elder.

  2. Submitted by Greg Price on 01/27/2015 - 05:40 pm.

    New Hope

    well said…. Mr. Tester

    A good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun…

    without a firearm you are at risk…

    Greg Price

    • Submitted by Rachel Weisman on 01/28/2015 - 09:07 am.

      This happened at City Hall

      If a city hall meeting where police officers are being sworn in isn’t safe then I think gun access has gone too far.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 01/28/2015 - 01:13 pm.


      A trained law enforcement officer will only hit a live target 25% of the time. This fantasy Charles Bronson scenario that you and Mr. Tester are applauding is only made more ironic by the fact that both of you would see any law restricting the shooter to possess a firearm as tyranny.
      I’ve been around way too many people on the range in the last six years that think they could take down a live shooter with ease.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/27/2015 - 05:45 pm.

    A guess isn’t certainty

    Unless I missed something, councilman Elder neither fired his service weapon nor took down the shooter. New Hope police in the hallway seem to have taken care of that latter task. I wonder what it was that Mr. Tester was implying?

    • Submitted by Robert Owen on 01/28/2015 - 11:42 am.

      “Service weapon”? He’s not currently a police officer and I’m pretty certain the city council doesn’t issue weapons to council members.

  4. Submitted by Seth Rowe on 01/27/2015 - 08:49 pm.

    Account of New Hope shooting

    My coworker at Sun Newspapers was in attendance at the New Hope City Council meeting, photographing the officers being sworn in minutes before the incident, and wrote an account about it under the subhead “Meeting mayhem” here:

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