“I honestly can’t believe I’m making this post right now. I’m so hurt. Nothing feels real,” Frazier wrote on Facebook. “I woke up to the most horrible news. Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police! Minneapolis police has cost my whole family a big loss. Today has been a day full of heartbreak and sadness.”
According to The Star Tribune, the crash involved three vehicles, including the police car and another innocent bystander. Police spokesman John Elder said the collision happened while officers were pursuing a suspect who was driving a stolen car which was taken during a carjacking and linked to robberies at multiple businesses.
An officer collided with Leneal during the chase, then ended up in the southbound lane and struck another uninvolved car, Fox 9 reported. The suspect, however, escaped without getting involved in the collision and still remains at large.
Leneal died at the hospital while the officer was also taken for treatment and later released.
Elder said police are looking at several factors as they investigate the crash, including whether the squad had its emergency lights on and siren activated. According to the department policy, officers can only initiate a chase if they believe a suspect has committed or is about to commit "a serious and violent felony or gross misdemeanor."
Deputies can also pursue suspects if if their driving is "so flagrantly reckless that the driver would pose an imminent and life-threatening danger to the public if not apprehended."
Elder said Tuesday's pursuit "fit the criteria."
"We are limiting what we can chase for, but these were obvious felonies," the spokesman said.
According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, fatal crashes during police pursuits led to over 7,000 deaths from 1996 to 2015. In Minnesota, police pursuits led to at least 40 fatalities from 2013-2019 per the Star Tribune.
Leneal's family said their loved one was going to his girlfriend's house when the tragedy unfolded.
"This is not fair, not right," Leneal’s daughter, Lanesha Frazier said. "I didn’t expect that to be my father. I’m really grieving because all these police out here, they’re not watching what they’re doing. They need to watch what they’re doing, innocent people out here being hurt."
The grieving loved ones described the father as "a family oriented person with a good heart."
"He would help anyone, anytime no matter the circumstances," the family wrote on a GoFundMe page. "He was the father of 6 children and 1 grandchild. He was the oldest of 5 siblings, so of course he was their protector. He loved his family and friends. He loves to cook and bbq, and to just spend as much time with his family as possible. He was one of the sweetest people you will ever meet."
Frazier said she is still in shock after waking up "to the most horrible news."
"It’s not fair how the police can just go around killing people...WHY ARE YOU DOING A HIGH SPEED CHASE ON A RESIDENTIAL RODE??" she wrote. "You took an innocent life trying to catch someone else... I don’t know how to feel... I was just with you at the beach ....if I would’ve known that would be my last time seeing you, I would’ve hugged you so much longer, told you I love you way harder....I love you so much.... please pray for my family."