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Large police presence at first New Hope council meeting since shooting

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It's been two weeks since Raymond Kmetz opened fire on police officers at a New Hope City Hall. Fortunately, the first meeting since the shooting proved far less eventful.

There was a large police presence at New Hope City Council Monday night, as officers showed support for the community after two officers attending a swearing-in ceremony were shot on Jan. 26, with Kmetz being tabbed as the only suspect.

He was killed by police returning fire, and on Monday night officers re-affirmed that the city and its residents are safe, while councilors were keen to draw a line under the issue.

New Hope Mayor Kathi Hemken gave a statement during the opening moments of the meeting, talking about the bravery of everyone who responded to the "tense situation." Afterward, she received a lengthy burst of applause. (Watch the recording here.)

The show of solidarity was the idea of Officer Beau Schoenhard, who was one of the officers shot during the last meeting, breaking his arm and wrist, KARE 11 reports.

The 6 1/2-year veteran told WCCO he felt like he had to turn up to Monday's meeting "to show everybody that I'm OK ... but also to show support to the council and the community."

KSTP notes the meeting was packed with other representatives as well, with state lawmakers and councilors from neighboring cities making the journey to New Hope.

Police were taking no chances this time around either, with armed officers seated at the council table having a direct line of sight to the door, as well as being posted in the lobby and parking lot, Hemken said.

Alleged straw buyer appears in court

The man accused of buying guns for Raymond Kmetz has appeared in court Tuesday charged with making a false claim to buy guns.

Michael Garant, 42, is accused of buying three shotguns for Kmetz, who was banned from purchasing firearms because of his history of mental illness.

Authorities agree that Garant had nothing to do with the New Hope shooting, according to WCCO, but a judge found enough cause to continue proceedings against him on the false claim charge.

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