The final night of the Minnesota State Fair ended in chaos Monday after a car struck a pedestrian and three people were shot outside of the main gates, police said.
St. Paul police responded around 10 p.m. to a report of a car striking a pedestrian not far from one of the fair’s entrances. When they arrived on the scene, officers found a “gravely injured” 19-year-old woman lying in the street, according to a statement from the St. Paul Police Department.
The woman, identified by police as Dynasty Capree Scott of St. Paul, was breathing but unresponsive. She was transported to a hospital where she remains in critical but stable condition, St. Paul police spokesperson Steve Linders said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
“The exact nature of her injuries aren’t known to us at this time but we pray that she will recover,” he said.
The car hit Scott after she exited a different vehicle and wandered into oncoming traffic, officials said Tuesday. Investigators aren’t sure why she exited the vehicle and have not yet been able to interview her, Linders said. Witnesses say a fight broke out in the area before the incident.
The driver of the vehicle called 911 to report what had happened, but left the scene at the 911 operator’s direction after bystanders began kicking and hitting his car, Linders said.
He drove to the parking lot of a nearby Arby’s restaurant, where police met him and performed a field sobriety test on him, Linders said. The driver did not show signs of impairment and has been cooperating with authorities, he said.
“It does not look at this point that it was anything criminal,” Linders said Tuesday.
As officials investigated the crash, police said, they heard gunshots nearby. They discovered a man suffering from a gunshot wound about two blocks south of where Scott was struck. He was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. Two other victims showed up at the hospital soon after, authorities said.
Including the man police found, the victims were two 20-year-olds — one shot in the groin, the other in the hand — and an 18-year-old, who was shot in the shoulder, reported local NBC affiliate KARE 11.
All three shooting victims are expected to survive, police said. One of the victims ― 20-year-old Roman Gabrielle Prescott of St. Paul ― had a warrant for possession of a firearm by an ineligible person. He was arrested at the hospital and is being held at Ramsey County Jail, Linders said Tuesday.
Investigators discovered casings from two different caliber firearms at the scene, Linders said Tuesday.
A group of about 30 to 40 people who knew at least one of the victims gathered outside the main doors of the hospital Monday night, police said. Officers reportedly observed several members of the group pushing each other. The officers ordered them to stop fighting and deployed a “small burst” of a “chemical irritant” at the group when people refused, Linders said.
Three of the people ― a 21-year-old man and two 19-year-old men ― were reportedly cited and arrested for rioting.
Linders said the police department’s gang unit is involved in the investigation. “Until we find the people who pulled the trigger, we won’t know what the motivation is,” he added.
Affectionately referred to as “The Great Minnesota Get Together” by locals, the annual fair, held on the 12 days leading up to and through Labor Day, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Sunday’s attendance broke previous records with 245,243 fairgoers, according to fair officials.
The massive event often attracts high-profile political figures and entertainers. Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Bernie Sanders of Vermont made several appearances at the fair this year.
“There’s a lot of people in that area,” Linders told local CBS affiliate WCCO. “This was incredibly dangerous. It was shockingly brazen ― audacious isn’t even a strong enough word. It was dangerous and we’re lucky more people weren’t injured or killed.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, it was not clear whether the car crash and shooting were connected. St. Paul police did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
Witnesses described panic as gunshots rang out in the closing hours of the fair.
“Everyone sort of reacted at the same time and realized that there was gunfire. People kind of all hit the deck and started scrambling,” one fairgoer told KARE 11. “It was all extremely quick and panicked. We just got out as fast as we could.”
Earlier that night, St. Paul police were investigating the city’s 15th homicide this year. Police responded to a report of a shooting at around 8:30 p.m. roughly seven miles east of the fair. When they arrived on the scene, police found 36-year-old Thomas R. Harrigan in his St. Paul home with at least one gunshot wound to the abdomen. He died about 30 minutes later, officials said.
No arrests have been made in that case as of Tuesday afternoon, police said.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) called on state lawmakers to take action on gun violence in the wake of Monday’s shootings.
“If the state fair symbolizes community, gun violence is the antithesis of that,” he told reporters Tuesday. “I refuse to accept this as the norm.”
This story has been updated with additional information from St. Paul police.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article reported that 245,243 people attended the Minnesota State Fair on Monday. This was actually Sunday’s attendance number.