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Officers and suspects shoot at each other during morning traffic stop, BCA says

The suspects fired first, and police fired back, the BCA says.

Two police officers returned fire when they were shot at during a traffic stop early Monday, according to authorities.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) says two La Crescent officers encountered two men "behaving suspiciously" at a Kwik Trip gas station around 1:30 a.m. 

After the men left the gas station, the officers pulled them over. That's when the "officers encountered gunfire" and fired back, as the BCA puts it.

The suspects fled, crashing into a bean field and running away – they then surrendered, the BCA says.

One man suffered non-life threatening injuries – whether it was from a gunshot or something else is "unknown at this point," a spokesperson for the BCA told GoMN. 

He was treated at the hospital. Both men were booked into jail. Charges against the two men could come in the next few days, the BCA says. 

No officers were injured in the incident. They've been placed on administrative leave, which is standard with officer-involved shootings. 

The BCA says La Crescent officers don't use body cameras, but squad cameras did capture video of the shooting. 

When the BCA's investigation is finished, it'll hand the case over to the Houston County Attorney's Office to be reviewed.

Officer-involved shootings in Minnesota

In 2016, there were 34 incidents in which a Minnesota police officer fired their weapon, the most recent Minnesota Uniform Crime Report says. Eight were accidental discharges. 

Last year, police fired 87 shots in those 34 incidents. It resulted in 13 people being killed and six people getting hurt by gunfire. 

Six others were injured, but by something that wasn't a gun, the report says. 

Of the 87 shots, 20 of them came during a traffic stop or pursuit, which is the second most common way an officer discharged their weapon. 

Responding to a disturbance call was the most common, accounting for 29 of the shots fired last year. 

It's not very common for an officer to fire their service weapon. A Pew Research study found only about 27 percent of all officers say they've ever fired their gun while on the job. 

But the public believes a lot more have, with 83 percent estimating the typical officer has shot their gun at least once while working. 

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