Minneapolis police say 5 shot near protest scene

Protesters Dig in Outside Minneapolis Police Station

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Five people were shot late Monday night near the site of an ongoing protest over the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer, Minneapolis police said. None of the five suffered life-threatening injuries.

The shootings occurred late Monday night about a block from the police department's 4th Precinct, where protesters have been demonstrating since the shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15.

Police Department Spokesman John Elder said in a news release that officers responded to the sound of gunshots around 10:40 p.m. and 911 calls shortly after reported five people had been shot. Dozens of officers assisted victims and secure the scene, the statement said.

Elder said three victims were taken to a hospital in a private vehicle, and two were transported by ambulance. All had injuries that were not life-threatening. Mica Grimm, an organizer with Black Lives Matter who said she arrived on the scene soon after the shooting, said two of the wounded were hit in the leg, another in the arm and a fourth in the stomach.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the shooting or how many suspects police were searching for. No one was in custody, and police are interviewing witnesses and ask that anyone with information come forward, the statement said.

See photos from the protest scene earlier this week:

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Minneapolis police say 5 shot near protest scene
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis NAACP president, center (with megaphone), speaks at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark outside the 4th police precinct November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Clark by a Minneapolis police officer (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Minneapolis Police Chief, Janee Harteau, right, speaks with Black Lives Matter organizer, Mica Grimes, separated by a barricade outside the 4th Precinct police station November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Jamar Clark by a Minneapolis police officer. A video of the shooting has not yet been released. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Protestors, activists, and community members listen to speeches at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark outside the 4th police precinct November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Clark by a Minneapolis police officer (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Protestors, activists, and community members listen to a speech by Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis NAACP president, at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark outside the 4th police precinct November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Clark by a Minneapolis police officer (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Protestors, activists, and community members bow their heads at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark outside the 4th police precinct November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Clark by a Minneapolis police officer (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Protestors, activists, and community members listen to speeches at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark outside the 4th police precinct November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Clark by a Minneapolis police officer (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Members of Black Lives Matter, activists, and protestors, march from a makeshift memorial for Jamar Clark on the side of Plymouth Avenue several blocks from the 4th Precinct November 20, 2015 in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Clark by a Minneapolis police officer (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Protestors, activists, and community members listen to speeches at a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark outside the 4th police precinct November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Clark by a Minneapolis police officer (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Minneapolis Police Chief, Janee Harteau, right, speaks with media and protestors separated by a barricade outside the 4th Precinct police station November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Jamar Clark by a Minneapolis police officer. A video of the shooting has not yet been released. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Andrew Yang, center, of Northfield, Minnesota, offers pizza to protesters before a candlelight vigil held for Jamar Clark outside the 4th police precinct November 20, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Activists are keeping up pressure for more information about the shooting death of Clark by a Minneapolis police officer. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
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Oluchi Omeoga, who has been participating in protests since last Monday, witnessed the incident.

Protesters saw three people wearing masks who "weren't supposed to be there," Omeoga said. Eventually, the three people left the crowd and began walking down the street, and a few protesters followed. When they reached a corner, the three people pulled out weapons and gunshots rang out, Omeoga said.

The scene early Tuesday was quiet, with about 200 people milling around and talking. Campfires were lit for warmth amid freezing temperatures. One man with a bullhorn led protesters in chants of "Jamar Clark!"

Clark's family, in a statement attributed to his brother Eddie Sutton and issued through U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's office, thanked protesters for "the incredible support" they have shown the family.

"But in light of tonight's shootings, the family feels out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the 4th precinct ended and onto the next step," the statement said.

Black Lives Matter had previously planned to announce "next steps" on Tuesday morning following a weekend meeting with community members about strategy.

Authorities have said Clark was shot during a struggle with police after he interfered with paramedics who were trying to assist an assault victim. But some people who said they saw the shooting allege Clark was handcuffed.

Protesters and Clark's family have been calling for investigators to release video of the shooting. The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said it has video from the ambulance, a mobile police camera and other sources, but none of it shows the event in its entirety. The agency, which is conducting a state investigation, said releasing the footage now would taint its investigation.

A federal criminal civil rights investigation is also underway to determine whether police intentionally violated Clark's civil rights through excessive force.

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