Fully automatic gunfire in Minneapolis up significantly from 2021: police data

According to MPD data, 83% of the city's shooting victims this year have been black.

A Minneapolis police squad car in downtown Minneapolis. (Tony Webster/Flickr)

Data from the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) shows an alarming spike in fully automatic gunfire since last year.

In a presentation before the Minneapolis City Council’s Public Health and Safety Committee last Wednesday, MPD crime analyst Austin Rice shared various crime data and spoke more in depth about certain trends.

Over the past two years, a total of 4,138 fully automatic rounds have been fired in the city of Minneapolis from 390 activations. Using ShotSpotter technology, police first detected fully automatic gunfire on Aug. 13, 2020, at the intersection of 37th and S 5th Ave.

A further breakdown of data from Jan. 1 to Aug. 8 in both 2021 and 2022 revealed a significant increase in automatic gunfire this year. Over that time period in 2021, 578 fully automatic rounds were fired from 50 activations.

Here in 2022, however, there have been 1,971 rounds fired from 183 activations — more than triple the figure from last year until the same point.

Minneapolis police confirmed in November 2021 that fully automatic gunfire had been injuring or killing people.

“It’s a relatively new phenomenon that we haven’t seen in Minneapolis until the end of August and September,” an analyst told the Minneapolis City Council at the time. “This is very, very recent.”

Fully automatic weapons are illegal in the United States, and it is considered extremely unlikely for a gun violence victim to have been killed by one.

MPD’s Austin Rice noted that the city’s spike in fully automatic gunfire may be driven by auto sears that can turn a gun into a fully automatic weapon.

Rice also shared with the Minneapolis City Council that young black residents are many times more likely to be a shooting victim than white residents.

According to MPD data, 83% of the city’s shooting victims this year have been black. And in 2021, one black shooting victim was identified for every 150 black residents, while one white shooting victim was identified for every 3,768 white residents.

A significant majority of homicides in Minneapolis, moreover, are committed by black suspects. In 2022, 89% of shooting suspects have been described as black (in cases where police obtain a suspect description from a witness).

As for age, two-thirds of Minneapolis’ shooting victims are 30 years old or younger.

Violent crime levels overall remain significantly high compared to 2019, but this year there have been slight decreases in gunshot victims and shooting-related calls compared to 2021.


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.