April 26, 2009

12 people arrested after Dinkytown riot

Minneapolis police arrested twelve people Saturday after a riot in Dinkytown, KMSP-TV reported.

Of the twelve people arrested, five are currently students at the University, two are recent students and one is a future student, KARE-TV reported.

The riot occured during Spring Jam Weekend at the U which is typically a big weekend for parties. U of M police arrived at a large off-campus party on the 1400 block of 7th Street SE about 8 p.m., KARE-TV reported. These initial officers had rocks, bottles and debris thrown at them, Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said.

The amount of students increased to about 500 at one point. The riot gear clad police responded to the crowd with foam bullets and tear gas.

Students started a large fire in the street, jumped on cars and attempted to flip them, causing property damage. Almost 60 police officers responded to the riots.

"This is not the kind-of behavior University of Minnesota students should engage in," Jerry Rinehart, the University's vice provost for student affairs said. "We're going to very vigorously look into each case."

Man dies when rushing water carries him into Mississippi River

Rushing rain water from a tunnel under the Marshall Avenue Bridge in St. Paul swept a man into the Mississippi River and killed him Sunday, WCCO-TV reported.

The man was exploring and taking pictures with a friend inside the tunnel before it filled with water, sending the two men down an embankment into the Mississippi River, St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said.

While one man died, the other was able to swim to shore. The man who died was Ian William Talty, 30, of Woodbury.

Rowers from the Minneapolis Rowing Club and the University of St. Thomas heard a cry for help, Doug Hennis of St. Thomas said.

The rowers used two aluminum boats to search for what they heard when they saw Talty floating facedown in the river. The rowers took Talty to shore but he could not be revived. He was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.

While not identified in the story, the surviving man is 29-years-old and was a friend of Talty's KSTP-TV said.

April 19, 2009

Man killed at White Castle in Hopkins

A man was killed early Sunday morning when a gunman fired shots during a dispute involving two groups of people at a Hopkins fast-food restaurant, Star Tribune reported. KSTP-TV has said the restaurant was a White Castle.

Two suspects are being held by police. Their identities have not yet been released.

Two groups of people began arguing and fighting in the parking lot of the restaurant in the 500 block of Blake Road. It was about 2 a.m. when shots were fired and the victim was hit. Police have not said how many shots were fired, KSTP-TV reported.

The crowd of people then scattered before police took two of the men into custody. Police continued to look for other suspects. Police are still looking for two of the men. There has yet to be any information released about the victim as of Sunday morning.

The Hennepin County Crime Lab was contacted to process the scene, KSTP-TV said.

KMSP-TV reported that the killer is still on the loose.

Driver of stolen vehicle strikes and kills motorist after police chase

An innocent motorist was killed by a driver being chased by police Saturday evening, KARE-TV has reported.

Before 7 p.m., a 33-year-old man assaulted a woman and stole her car from the 600 block of Highway 36, Roseville police said.

Roseville police chased the man but stopped after the suspect exhibited dangerous driving. Shortly after, the suspect was involved in a crash near I-35E and Larpenteur Avenue that killed a woman and sent a man to the hospital. The man is currently in serious condition.

An 8-year-old boy was discovered in the stolen vehicle and taken to Regions hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police have not released information regarding the relationship between the suspect and the child.

The suspect was booked into the Ramsey County Jail for probable cause of Criminal Vehicular Homicide. The suspect was intoxicated, investigators said.

A statement released by the police department said that no officers were pursuing the vehicle at the time of the crash, the Star Tribune has reported.

April 12, 2009

Man charged with attempting to start fire at MOA

A Minneapolis man has been charged with three felonies after allegedly making terroristic threats and starting a fire, the Star Tribune reported.

Andrew Nietz, 24, received two charges of terroristic threats and one charge of arson from both April 1 and April 6. Nietz told officers he had an "incendiary device" at the mall.

According to the complaint, Nietz had aerosol in his backpack when it exploded and caught fire in the third-floor transit area. Nietz also said he was a terrorist and had rocket-propelled grenades and a knowledge of guns.

Nietz was put on a 72-hour mental-health crisis hold six days before police again found Nietz at the mall, this time allegedly trying to light transit brochures on fire and threatening the life of a security officer and his family.

If convicted, Nietz faces 10 years and a $17,500 fine for the arson charge and three years and a $3,000 fine for each terroristic threat, KAAL-TV said.

April 11, 2009

Discovered body not that of Zamlen

The Star Tribune has reported that a body discovered in debris in the Mississippi River was not the body of a missing student from the University of St. Thomas, police said.

The body, which was found to be female, was discovered by barge company employees on the intersection of Childs and Shepard Roads.

A woman who was seen jumping from a nearby bridge a few weeks ago matched the description of the discovered body, St. Paul police spokesman Peter Panos said.

Dan Zamlen, the missing St. Thomas freshman, is still being searched for by volunteers. Zamlen was said to have been at the intersection of Mississippi River Boulevard S. and St. Clair Avenue before his phone cut out. Police have searched for him by both boat and helicopter but have since stopped searching.

The medical examiner's office said it hopes to be able to have more information by Monday on the discovered body's identity, KARE-TV reported.

April 5, 2009

'Strib' journalists campaign for paper

A campaign to make sure that the Star Tribune continues to be printed has been put together by a group of Star Tribune journalists, WCCO-TV reported.

Employees are expected to be at the Twins home opener Monday to pass out newspaper hats, t-shirts, petitions and score cards. The groups is also launching a Web site,

The campaign's organizers said their goal is to convince people that the paper is an important resource to the community. The organizers also hope to solicit ideas on new ownership and business models.

Jackie Crosby, a business reporter for the Star Tribune, told KARE-TV that they want the public behind them.

"Because we feel like we're more than just a for-profit business, we feel like we're part of the community and we have an important role to play in civic life," Crosby said.

Police search for missing St. Thomas student

Police are searching for a St. Thomas student who has been missing since early Sunday, WCCO-TV reported.

Dan Zamlen, 18, of Eveleth, Minn. was last heard from at 3 a.m. before his phone went dead as he was on the phone with a friend. Zamlen's sister told KSTP-TV that before his phone went silent, he said 'I'm slipping. I'm slipping.'

Zamlen was believed to be near the Mississippi River at the time of his disappearance. Friends of Zamlen said he was heading to the University of Minnesota to meet with other friends.

Zamlen's sister told KSTP-TV that he had left a party at St. Thomas on his own and that he was angry and wanted to cool off.

St. Thomas spokesperson Jim Winterer described Zamlen as 6-foot, 175 pounds, with a blue jacket and jeans. Winterer also said there is also a concern for Zamlen since he is a Type 1 diabetic.

A State Patrol helicopter and firefighters searched along the Mississippi River for Zamlen while friends and family handed out pictures. Despite these efforts nothing was found Sunday.

"You know you always see it on the news, college kid missing, or some little kid, you feel bad for the family, this is the last thing I ever thought I'd deal with," Zamlen's sister said.

March 29, 2009

Two people from Eau Claire die after Colorado car chase

The Star Tribune has reported that a man and woman from Wisconsin were killed Saturday after allegedly trying to flee from troopers, the Colorado state patrol said.

Jonathan P. Holum, 29, and Cora Weil, 23, both of Eau Claire, were identified as the victims by the state patrol.

The pickup truck that both Holumn and Weil were in was weaving on Colorado 82 in Garfield County after midnight, authorities said. Holum was thought to be driving under the influence according to a trooper.

Holum drove away when the officer took their information to his patrol car, the Denver Post reported.

During the chase, the truck drove off in an attempt to force a trooper's car off the road, troopers said. The truck then rolled after losing control, ejecting Holum and Weil. The car rolled twice into the median, the Denver Post said. Neither of them had their seatbelts on.

St. Paul Chiropractor sentenced to 90 days in workhouse for sexually touching co-worker

A St. Paul chiropractor received a sentence of 90 days in the Ramsey County workhouse after sexually touching a co-worker during a massage, the Star Tribune reported.

The chiropractor, Christopher Thaemert, 43, of Hugo, Minn., could have received up to a year in prison. The co-worker said Thaemert ran his hand over her private parts and kissed her leg.

Thaemert's defense attorney, Earl Gray, said Thaemert denied touching the woman inappropriately, and that Thaemert apologized for kissing her on the ankle, WCCO-TV reported.

Thaemert requested he be put on electronic home monitoring or community service. Instead, District Judge William H. Leary sent Thaemert to participate in a work-release program. Thaemert will not have to register as a predatory sex offender.

Gray said Thaemert's business and family have both suffered as a result of the publicity.

"His family life has not been real pleasant," Gray said.

Thaemert will not be allowed contact with the victim or her family. No lawsuit has yet to have been filed.

Thaemert will be on probation for 3 years and will have to submit a DNA sample to the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners, WCCO-TV said. Thaemert must also pay the victim's restitution.

March 15, 2009

Man in critical condition after being shot at by police officer

A man was shot by a Litchfield, Minn. police officer and later airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center early Sunday, the Star Tribune reported.

The man was shot in the 300 block of Litchfield Avenue S. at about 1:30 a.m., a Litchfield Police Department news release said. No details have been released as to how or why the shooting occured.

The man who was shot is in the intensive care unit and is in critical condition, Janell Rasmussen, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said. The BCA, who is also investigating, declined to release any further details.

Further interviews about the shooting need to be conducted before the officer and the man can be identified. The officer is on a paid administrative leave, which is standard.

Police in St. Cloud are also investigating another shooting by a Stearns County Sheriff's deputy which occured on Friday at 4311 Clearwater Road, the St. Cloud Times has reported.

Man charged after police find $18,000 and pot

The Pioneer Press has reported that a Farmington man faces drug charges after his pot and money were found by police and a 16-year-old.

Police charged John Taylor Jordan, 36, Thursday in Dakota County Distrct Court after they found more than 200 plants in Jordan's home. Police were able to connect the pot found in his home with the pot found in the ditch, the report said.

According to a criminal complaint, police originally went to Jordan's home in response to a noise complaint. After no one answered the door, Jordan left the residence in his car but was later stopped for a traffic violation. Police noticed the same pot odor in Jordan's home and vehicle.

Police conducted a search of Jordan's home and found growing equipment and plants, the charges said.

Police also learned of a 16-year-old boy who had handed out $11,000 to his classmates at Rosemount High School. The boy told police that he found the money in a ditch, which led police to a discovery of four pounds of marijuana and two digital scales.

Authorities determined that Jordan passed the ditch after being stopped by police.

Jordan has been charged with a third-degree attempted controlled substance crime and a fifth-degree controlled substances crime. Jordan could face 25 years in prison if convicted.

"We're grateful the kid found the dope and the money, but we know where it came from," Capt. John Grant, of the Dakota County Drug Task Force, said in the Star Tribune.

March 8, 2009

Dumpster fire at Eagan strip mall

A total of nine stores were damaged early Sunday morning when a dumpster fire spread to Cliff Lake Center, the Star Tribune reported. No one was injured, but three small businesses were seriously damaged, a fire official said.

The alarm at Cliff Lake Center sounded about 1:15 a.m. Firefighters discovered heavy smoke and flames when they arrived.

The damages sustained by the nine businesses were mainly due to smoke and water, Fire Chief Mike Scott said. GNC Nutrition Shop, a nail salon and a day care center sustained the worst damage.

"It doesn't appear suspicious at this point," Scott said.

The Pioneer Press reported that 50 firefighters responded and stayed at the scene for about three hours.

Victim of hit-and-run in critical condition

An Apple Valley woman who was hit while in a crosswalk is in critical condition on Sunday, the Star Tribune reported.

Joan LeVasseur, 26, was hit about 9 p.m. at the intersection of 153rd St. and Cedar Avenue while on her way to Cub Foods. The vehicle that hit LeVasseur was a large, neutral-colored vehicle that could have front-end damage, Police said.

LeVasseur suffered head trauma, brain injuries and fractures in her legs and pelvis, family members said.

Apple Valley Sgt. Joe Shaw said that although there have been several tips, no arrests have been made.

KARE-TV has added some important information to this story, noting that LeVasseur was born deaf and is now in a deep coma. She is currently at HCMC and is surrounded by family members.

LeVasseur's family said that she takes extra care when crossing the street because of the fact that she is deaf. The family is waiting for someone to come forward and is hoping and praying that LeVasseur will pull through.

"There are a lot of broken hearts asking for someone to come forward and tell us what they know," Robert Boever, LeVasseur's stepfather, said.

March 1, 2009

Lakeville man found not guilty in baseball bat death

A Lakeville man has been acquitted of murder charges stemming from the baseball bat death of his friend, WCCO has reported. The jury spent 30 hours deliberating before making their decision, the Dakota County Prosecutor said.

The complaint said that the two men had spent the night drinking. An argument then ensued and Charlie Otto Reynolds, 32, ended up striking Joshua Jay Skare, 33, in the head with a bat.

According to the Star Tribune, Dakota County Attourney James Backstrom said that the state was not able to prove that the attack was not in self-defense.

Reynolds has been charged with first-degree premeditated murder, second-degree murder with intent to kill, second degree murder without intent to kill while committing a first-degree assault and second-degree murder while committing second-degree assault.

The prosecution and defense agreed that Reynolds did indeed strike and kill Skare. They were more focused on deciding whether Reynolds planned or intended to kill Skare.

According to Reynolds' testimony, on the night of March 15, Skare left the living room in which he was expected to sleep and entered the upstairs bedroom of Reynolds. After becoming increasingly belligerent, Skare pushed Reynolds into a banister and as Reynolds was fearing for his life, he struck Skare with a bat.

"It is a really tough case because there are victims on both sides," Kevin DeVore, Reynolds' attorney, said. "He lost his best friend, and he's going to have to struggle with that for the rest of his life."

Man exposes self, receives probation and prison time

A Fridley man was sentenced Friday to 90 days in jail and six years of probation for allegedly exposing himself to girls in St. Paul, Roseville, and New Brighton, the Star Tribune reported.

Following the sentence, Brian E. Thompson, 27, may not have any contact with vulnerable adults or children, not possess any pornographic material, will not be allowed access to the internet without permission, will have to submit polygraph tests, and will need to enter sex offender treatment. If Thompson does not follow the conditions of his probation, he will face a large fine along with three consecutive yearlong sentences.

Thompson has also received three separate charges of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. According to the charging documents, Thompson would expose his private parts after driving up to juvenille victims and asking for directions.

According to the Pioneer Press, Thompson offered his soft spoken regret to the judge in which he said his actions were wrong.

"I wish I could take it back, take it all back," Thompson said.

February 22, 2009

Knife-wielding suspect fatally shot by police

The Pioneer Press reported that a man who threatened police with a knife was shot and killed by two Shakopee police officers on Sunday, police said.

Gordon William Denmark, 36, refused to obey police orders to drop his weapon. The police tazered Denmark, but it had no effect on him.

Denmark was wanted by police for second-degree assault, second-degree domestic assault, and violation of an order for protection after he allegedly attacked his estranged wife and a neighbor at about 11 p.m. on Friday.

Police returned to the scene 4 p.m. Saturday to continue an investigation, but they noticed that someone had broken into the home. Police searched the home and found Denmark in the attic holding a knife, police said.

Police said they tazered Denmark and then shot him because they feared for their lives. Denmark died at the scene.

The officers were placed on paid administrative leave while the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigates the shooting. Police told the Star Tribune that this is standard procedure in cases like these.

Cop accidentally fires gun, hits retired cop

A retired St. Paul police officer was injured Saturday when an off-duty Minneapolis police officer's gun accidentally discharged, the Star Tribune reported.

The police officer was sitting in a chair when the gun holdster caught onto it and the pistol discharged, with one round hitting the floor, Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia, said. The bullet fragmented and hit the retired St. Paul officer in his left leg and in his hand. He was treated and released after suffering minor injuries, Garcia said.

Garcia called it a freak accident and said he was greatful no one was hurt. He said that authorities are examining the gun and holdster to see what could have caused the gun to discharge. Garcia said the officer will not be disciplined, since it is not considered to be a critical incident, in which case officers are put on paid leave during an investigation.

Garcia told the Pioneer Press that officers keep the safety switch off when a gun is in a holdster.

"When you need it, you need it," he said. "Every split second counts."

February 15, 2009

118 Cats Removed from Mobile Home

118 cats had to be removed from a St. Anthony mobile home because they contained diseases ranging from ringworm to feline AIDS, the Star Tribune has reported.

Officials from the Humane Society had to remove 118 cats from the mobile home on Tuesday. More cats were found by police and were brought to the Humane Society's shelter in Golden Valley.

In 2002, the same couple had 72 cats removed from their previous home in Coon Rapids.

KMSP-TV is reporting that there was only one litter box for all 118 cats, and that the home was full of cat urine and feces.

KMSP-TV also reported the couple's names: Robert and Cheryl Salidas. The couple is now in the care of social services.

Train Kills Man in St. Paul

A 33-year-old man was found around 11 p.m. Saturday night after being struck by a train, The Pioneer Press has reported.

The man was discovered lying on a set of railroad tracks close to Bush Avenue and Burr Street by a Union Pacific Railroad worker, St. Paul Police Cmdr. Kevin Casper, said.

The railroad worker discovered the man on a different set of tracks than he was traveling. When the man was struck is unknown.

The Star Tribune reported that police do not consider the death to be suspicious at this point, and that transients are common around the area.

February 8, 2009

St. Paul gives protester $5,000

The City of St. Paul will pay an RNC protestor $5,000 for an incident last June when police detained Mark Kelly, 51, for handing out leaflets outside of the Xcel Energy Center, the Star Tribune reported.
Kelly, from Minneapolis, was approached by police and driven 10 blocks away in a squad car. Afterwards, he was given a citation and then released. The Pioneer Press reported that the citation was for "peddling near the entrance of an entertainment venue within three hours of an event." However, the citation was retracted because the ordinance refers to the selling of goods and not leafleting.
After Kelly was arrested, he alerted local news media which prompted an investigation by the police, who found that Kelly had been improperly detained. Despite this, Kelly filed a suit with the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
Kelly argued that the police owe him $5,000, as each confiscated flier was $50 each.
"The fact they are paying me $5,000 speaks volumes," Kelly said.
St. Paul City Attourney John Choi said otherwise.
"The settlement is a great outcome for the city," Choi said.

Woman withdraws suit concerning voodoo due to divine intervention

Mary Nabila Muma, from St. Paul, has withdrawn her case against her ex-husband in which she accuses another woman of using voodoo to lure him away, this according to a report by the Star Tribune.
She changed her mind about the suit after praying for her husband and going on a private retreat. Muma mentioned how she believed herself to be the recipient of divine intervention when she lost control of her vehicle and came out unharmed. She believed that God had intervened in order to send a message that she should drop the charges against her husband.
After the incident, Muma wrote a letter to the judge withdrawing her suit and was grateful to the Federal Court as it helped her to gain attention.
"All I know is God will answer my prayer in his own time," Muma said.

February 1, 2009

St. Paul Man Gunned Down

Jeffery Logan, 44, was heading to his home in St. Paul around 1 a.m. when he was met by 3 men, the Star Tribune reports.
Logan, who was with his cousin at the time, fought with the men before they fired on him. Logan was then sent to Regions Hospital, which was where he died.
Police saw the vehicle that matched a description by witnesses, and followed the vehicle until it crashed at the intersection of Laurel Avenue and St. Albans.
The men in the vehicle were searched and booked into the Ramsey County Jail. The suspects, a 20-year-old West St. Paul man and two St. Paul men, ages 27 and 28, await formal charges by the Ramsey County attourney's office.
Logan is described by friends and family as a staple at the American Legion, and was even compared to the character Norm from the sitcom Cheers.
No, he was worse than Norm," said Eric Coleman, Logan's longtime friend. "He'd tell you about yourself."
"It was senseless. They hurt a lot of people," said Logan's sister, Sharon Comer. "I don't know if it was for a dollar, or two or three. But it wasn't worth it."

January 31, 2009

Fatal Plane Crash In Western Wisc.

A small plane crashed near Menomonie, Wisc. late Friday night, killing everyone on board, the Star Tribune reports.
The Dunn County Sheriff's Office received a call around 9:45 PM stating that a small plane had crashed near Highway 25 and 770th Avenue in Tainter Township. The plane was discovered in a field and wooded area, with wreckage scattered over 5 to 10 acres.
The names and addresses of the victims will not be released until the family members have been notified and the investigation has been completed.
According to KMSP-TV, the plane was flying from Sheboygan, Wisconsin to New Richmond, Wisconsin. Both KMSP-TV and KSTP-TV have reported that there were three people who died in the crash.
KSTP also specified that the plane was a single engine SR 20.