Hennepin County Attorney Adjudicating Police Officers for Killing of Unarmed Tekle Sundberg as Justified
Tekle Sundberg

Tekle Sundberg was suffering from a mental health crisis and police were called. When his parents, Cindy and Mark Sundberg, arrived at their son’s apartment building, there were police attempting to remove him from his home. After a few hours, police snipers shot and killed Tekle from a rooftop across the street.

Now, one year later, Tekle’s parents are sharing their memories of that night with Unicorn Riot. Through journal entries and interviews, Cindy and Mark Sundberg recount the events surrounding their son’s death, their mistreatment by police, and the pain of losing a child.

“My memory works in snapshots of that night, haunted by flashbacks that take me right back there. I have replayed that night over and over and what sticks with me, what shreds my already broken heart, is thinking of Tekle dying alone. Of knowing he died so scared and so alone.”

In the midst of a mental health crisis, in which shots were allegedly fired from inside Sundberg’s apartment, heavily armed units of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) held a six-hour “standoff” at the building in which Tekle had been living for over two years with his cat. Two MPD officers, Aaron Pearson and Zachary Seraphine, stationed themselves on the roof of a nearby apartment building and fired two shots killing Tekle as he appeared at his window with a tool-like object in his hand.

Police video released at a July 20, 2022 press conference shows four segments from body cameras of four different Minneapolis police officers. None of the body-cam segments show Tekle holding or firing a weapon and none of it shows Sundberg saying anything threatening to officers. 

Five months after the killing and just a few days before Christmas, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman concluded that the fatal shooting of Tekle was justified and that no officers would be charged. 

This special features some of the intimate thoughts of two parents witnessing the killing of their son while in crisis, dealing with the direct aftermath and their reaction to the news of no prosecution and the media coverage that followed along with a look at police protocol while handling a mental health crisis.

More on this story here.