Questions abound in the July 2 shooting death of Isak Abdirahman Aden, 23, of Columbia Heights. Missing details have only added to the confusion about just what happened out in those Eagan woods the night of Aden’s death.
Eagan police Chief Roger New, in a July 3 press conference, reported that his department received a 911 call from a woman who said she was being assaulted. New did not provide any other details, and his department has yet to release a copy of the 911 call or the exact contents of the call.
New said police did not know if the caller had been harmed.
The 911 call brought out police from several different suburban departments, including Eagan, Bloomington, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Edina, Lakeville, the Minnesota State Patrol, Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and South Metro SWAT Team.
In the press conference, New said police from these several departments pursued Aden to a wooded area near Highway 13 and Silver Bell Road. Aden later moved to an area on the 1900 block of Seneca Road in Eagan.
New said that Aden was armed, resulting in about a four-hour standoff that ended with police shooting and killing Aden. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner reported in a news release that Aden died of multiple gunshot wounds
The Eagan police chief did not make it clear what provoked police to shoot Aden. None of the departments involved have reported that Aden fired at them. New said in the press conference that it was “too soon” to determine if Aden fired his weapon.
According to his sister Samaya Aden, when the family was allowed to view his body they saw wounds from a non-lethal weapon, possibly a rubber bullet.
“He always put others first,” she said of her brother. “He loved to laugh. He was very goal-oriented and really cared about those around him. He loved his family and treated family like friends.
“Never in a million years would I have thought my brother would be in a situation like this. He had a lot to lose.” Aden was a University of Minnesota student who owned his own business and, according to a teacher, was very intelligent, scoring the highest of his fellow students on the ACT.
Aden’s family, friends and community members protested the killing on July 16 in Eagan, marching and chanting outside of the Eagan Police Department and City Hall. The protest was later taken inside to the city council meeting, where the mayor allowed those protesting Aden’s death to voice their concerns. The primary demand was that the police who killed Aden be prosecuted.
The Aden family has also demanded that all of the video surrounding the incident be released, including police body cams and squad cam.
Five police officers who reportedly fired at Aden have been placed on leave, including Anthony Kiehl, Daniel Nelson, Matt Ryan, and Adam Stier of the Bloomington Police Department and Jacob Peterson of the Eagan Police Department.
For some of the officers involved, this was not their first time executing extreme force. Kiehl was involved in the 2015 fatal shooting of Quincy Reindl, a 24-year-old White male. Peterson fatally shot Zachary Premo, a 26-year-old White male, on June 11, 2013, in Duluth. Stier has three lawsuits filed against him for his conduct while administering field sobriety tests.
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.