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April 20, 2009

Suspect arrested after Minneapolis shooting

A man opened fire Sunday, aiming at a man who police had just finished questioning, reported the Star Tribune.

The suspect fled after firing the shots. Police chased him down two-blocks, shooting in attempts to stop the suspect, Minneapolis police Sgt. William Palmer said.

Neither the suspect nor the officers were hit.

The initial shooting occurred near the Village Market Mall in south Minneapolis, reported WCCO.

Sunday night's shooting left residents nearby shaken. One family's home had a half-dozen bullet holes in it, some near doors and windows.

An investigation of the case by the Minneapolis Police Homicide and Internal Affairs Units has begun. Two Minneapolis Police officers will be placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure for a case like this. (WCCO)

The shooting victim was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. He suffered non-critical injuries. (Star Tribune)

Omar Jamal, a Somali-American community activist, said he believes this shooting is related to the shooting that occurred early Sunday morning in Hopkins. That shooting killed one 24-year-old man. (Star Tribune)

Police have no information indicating a relationship between the two shootings.

The names of suspects and victims in both cases have not yet been released.

Minneapolis father goes missing, search is on

A 24-year-old Minneapolis man, who was last seen in Anoka, has been missing since Friday night, reported the Star Tribune.

Jelani Brinson is the father of a 9-month-old baby, a church-goer, and an employee at an Edina Sprint store where he failed to show up for work on Saturday.

Brinson abruptly left an Anoka party on Friday evening around 10p.m., Anoka police said, according to KSTP News.

His shoes were found near the friend's home located near Highway 10 and St. Francis Boulevard. His car was also left behind at the party. (KSTP)

Brinson is five foot nine inches tall, weighs 160 pounds, and was last seen wearing jeans, a black shirt and black hooded sweatshirt. (KSTP)

A search party of about 70 people began looking for Brinson in Anoka Sunday, Brinson's girlfriend Dena Anderson said. (Star Tribune)

April 14, 2009

Teen enters guilty plea in sexual assault case

A former student of Patrick Henry High School pleaded guilty Monday for sexually assaulting a female student at the school last summer, reported the Star Tribune.

Raevon Conner, 18, of Brooklyn Park will be sentenced on June 9, reported KSTP TV.

He pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual conduct. (Star Tribune)

KSTP reported that he pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual conduct and theft charges for several incidents in June 2008 at the school.

Conner and another male student coerced a 15-year-old girl into following them to the basement of the school where Conner forced the girl to perform a sex act on him. (Star Tribune)

Conner was an honor student at the school. He was also a football player and a member of the school's championship poetry slam team.

There could be more victims who haven't come forward yet out of fear, Sgt. Melissa Banham of the Minneapolis Police Department said, according to KSTP TV.

April 13, 2009

Street-sweeping coming for Minneapolis

Public work crews will begin sweeping roads Tuesday, reported the Star Tribune. Sweeping will last for four weeks.

No parking signs will be posted 24 hours prior to sweeping, reported the Minnesota Daily.

Vehicles on the street during sweeping will be ticketed and towed to the Minneapolis Impound Lot. (MN Daily)

The city will also be making automated phone calls warning residents about sweeping. The number of calls will reach 3,500.

Residents who want to know when their street will be swept can check the city street sweep home page.

Parking on streets being swept is banned from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The no parking signs will be removed after sweeping.

1,100 miles of Minneapolis streets are swept every spring and fall in Minneapolis.

It is against the law to push leaves, grass clippings or other debris into the streets due to its potential contamination of local bodies of water. (Star Tribune)

April 6, 2009

Search still on for missing St. Thomas student

Students and police are still searching for a missing St. Thomas student, the Pioneer Press reported.

Daniel Zamlen, 18, a freshman at St. Thomas University in St. Paul and native of Eveleth, Minn., went missing Sunday after leaving a party.

Police are searching the area around St. Clair Avenue and Mississippi River Boulevard, where Zamlen was last heard from.

The Star Tribune reported that Zamlen was spoken to on Sunday morning around 2:30a.m. by friends via cell phone.

Zamlen was drinking at a party prior to his disappearance. He has Type I diabetes and was not supposed to be drinking. (Star Tribune)

Police have not yet searched the Mississippi River due to the water's height and fast current. They say they will go in if they pinpoint a spot to search. (Pioneer Press)

Zamlen apparently left the party on St. Clair Avenue after becoming upset. Friends have not revealed why he was upset yet.

People searching on foot and a helicopter carrying a heat-seeking device have not produced any clues to Zamlen's whereabouts. (Star Tribune)

Student dies in pool accident

A western Minnesota boy was found unresponsive in a Granite Falls swimming pool Friday, reported KSTP TV News.

KARE 11 News reported that Eddie Ojer, a fourth-grader at Maria L. Sanford Elementary School in Montevideo Minn., died at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Eddie and the other students were at the Kilowatt Center in Granite Falls on a reward day. (KARE)

Two lifeguards and several chaperones were present at the pool at the time of the incident, the director of the aquatic center said, according to KSTP.

Classes at the school are in session Monday, school Superintendent David Baukol said. Counselors and social workers are available to help students, parents and staff. (KARE)

March 31, 2009

Possible cover-up by Minneapolis cops

Fox 9 News reported that the family of a man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police in 2006 is accusing those police officers of covering up evidence.

They claim that 19-year-old Fong Lee never had a gun at all.

Witness reports and other documents back up the families accusation, according to the Pioneer Press.

The gun found on Lee was alleged to have been recovered from a earlier burglary and kept by the officers as evidence and was never returned.

Police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia denied the conspiracy accusations. Jason Andersen, the officer who fired the gun that killed Lee, was cleared by a grand jury, Garcia said. (Pioneer Press)

Fox 9 News reported that a man by the name of Dang Her claimed the gun in question was stolen from his house in 2004. The serial numbers on the gun that police claim Lee was carrying match the numbers that Her gave, according to a court affidavit filed Monday.

Minneapolis police claim there were two guns. (Fox 9 News)

March 30, 2009

Four wounded in party shooting

The Star Tribune reported that three people are in jail after wounding four in a shooting at a Lakeville house party around 12a.m. Sunday morning.

The four victims sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, according to Lakeville police.

The man who fired the shots that wounded the four people, two of whom were 17-years-old, fled in a car with two others, according to the Pioneer Press.

Police then arrested the three, two of whom are currently in Dakota County jail awaiting charges, and another who initially gave police a false name is currently in a juvenile detention center.

The shooting is believed to have been caused by the shooter being asked to leave the party.

Police officers had been called to the home on previous occasions due to complaints about noise and domestic calls, Lakeville police Sgt. Mike Sheady said, according to the Pioneer Press.

Etta Tyson, a resident of the home, said her grandmother, two sisters, infant son, and niece were not at home at the time of the incident.

March 24, 2009

Local bus driver accused of driving bus drunk

A bus driver for Metro Transit was arrested Saturday in Brooklyn Center for driving his bus at six times the legal limit, reported the Star Tribune.

The Pioneer Press reported that the driver was driving at three times the legal limit.

Passengers reported the driver, 46-year-old St. Paul native Alonzo V. Martin was running into curbs and driving erratically along Metro Transit's Route 5, which runs from the Brooklyn Center Transit Center to the Mall of America.

Both passengers and motorists following the bus reported Alonzo to the police around 9:40p.m. Saturday. (Star Tribune)

"We've never had an operator removed from service while under the influence," Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons said, speaking to the Pioneer Press.

Alonzo is currently on leave from Metro Transit. Alonzo had been employed at Metro Transit since Jan. 2008 and moved from part-time to full-time in Feb. 2009.

This was the first arrest of its kind for Metro Transit, a company which employs 1,400 bus drivers. (Pioneer Press)

Alonzo is expected to be charged with third-degree DWI and having an open bottle, said Brooklyn Center police Cmdr. Tim Gannon. (Star Tribune)

Red River flood outlook looks more optimistic

Lower predictions for the crest of the Red River caused residents of the river's first potential victims to breathe a little easier Tuesday, reported the Star Tribune.

Residents of Breckenridge, Minn. are confident that battle has been won. "A lot of things have been put in place. I think we'll be comfortable," Breckenridge vice-mayor Jeff Krueger said.

"We've got it beat," said Wilkin County highway engineer Tom Richels, speaking to the Star Tribune. "We're pretty darned confident."

All is not well elsewhere in the river's path. 200 residents of Crookston, Minn., had to be evacuated when the river rose more than five feet.

The Pioneer Press reported residents of Fargo, N.D. are cheering today as well as word came that there was an unexpected dip in the Red River that would prevent the river from breaching the cities protective dikes.

The dikes are currently being raised to 42 feet but that would still leave several neighborhoods in lower areas.

Over 600 North Dakota National Guard members have been called to assist in flood prevention, as well as 300 Minnesotan guard members. (Pioneer Press)

The all-time record for the height of the Red River is just over 18 feet.

March 10, 2009

Man pleads guilty in murder of homeless man

The Star Tribune reported that a Minneapolis man who admitted to killing a homeless man last summer has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Jon Fitzgerald Posey, 44, beat and killed Brian Wayne Lumbar, 47, with a baseball bat in a homeless camp in August of last year.

FOX 9 News reported that Posey is due to be sentenced on April 8 at the Hennepin County District Courthouse.

Posey said in an interview with police that he thought Lumbar was going to killed him. He then planned the attack and killed Lumbar as he was trying to flee, hitting him repeatedly over the head with the bat. (Fox 9)

The body of the victim was found in a commercial district on the 600 block of Olson Highway, near downtown Minneapolis.

When Posey was found by police with bloody shoes, he said he was going to "make their job easier", and confessed to the crime. (Star Tribune)

Minneapolis announces bike-sharing program

The city of Minneapolis and The University of Minnesota plan to announce the arrival Tuesday of a bike-sharing program that will put 1,000 bikes on the street, reported the Star Tribune.

Over $4 million dollars were spent to create the new program and center. The money was federally-funded and has the objective of decreasing driving and increasing biking and walking throughout the city.

Bicycle kiosks will be located in downtown, uptown, and the university area. Members will pay $50 for a year long pass, while non-members will pay $5 for a half-an-hour with their bike.

The bikes can be dropped off at any of the 75 self-service, solar-powered kiosks.

Bicycles will be equipped with Radio Frequency I.D. tags that will help track the bikes if they are stolen.

The Minnesota Daily reported that there will be a formal announcement made at the Oak Street Ramp at 11:30a.m. that will feature appearances by University President Bob Bruininks and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

March 3, 2009

Good samaritan goes bad

The Pioneer Press reported a West St. Paul woman who was helped Thursday by 18-year-old Richard Regis after driving into a snowbank was then the victim of a carjacking.

Television station WCCO reported that after the woman drove into the snowbank a group of teenagers at a nearby bus stop approached the car and helped free it from the snowbank. One of them was Regis, who was behind the wheel at the time.

Regis was arrested quickly after trying to flee police in Mendota Heights on foot.

The Mendota Heights police officer chased Regis through several yards before he caught up to him and ordered him to stop, which he didn't. He was finally arrested on a pond nearby.

"I got it out of the snow. And instead of giving it right back to her, I drove off with it," a report obtained by the Pioneer Press quotes Regis as saying.

Regis was identified by the other two men who helped him get the car out of the snowbank.

Regis told police he was just "playing around". He faces two felony charges of theft in Dakota County.

Two wanted gang members apprehended

Fox 9 News reported that two gang members were arrested Monday, ending an 8-year manhunt. The men were arrested in connection with gang-related homicide in 2001.

Gary Vue, 27, and Chong Vue, 29, were the brothers the Minnesota Fugitive Task Force arrested Monday morning. Police acquired a tip that led them to the St. Paul residence of a friend of the two men, where they were apprehended around 6:20a.m.

The two were featured on the television series "America's Most Wanted" in November 2006, reported the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune also said they were being sought in connection with the murder of 21-year-old Za Xiong, who was killed in North Minneapolis in 2001.

The two were charged with second-degree murder in 2006 and indicted two months later by a Hennepin County Grand Jury. They then fled the state before they could be charged. (Fox 9)

The brothers were members of the Oroville Mono Boys gang. (Star Tribune)

February 24, 2009

Hundreds of cars towed over the weekend

Several news outlets are reporting a variety of different numbers when it comes to the total amount of cars that were towed over the weekend due to the snow emergency.

The Star Tribune puts the number at 1,400 cars. The Minnesota Daily says 2,500 cars were towed. The Downtown Journal says 1,800, while Fox 9 News says almost 3,000 cars were sent to the impound lot.

Fox 9 News also reported that St. Paul police issued more than 5,800 tickets to drivers. They also reported that some cars were ticketed and towed by mistake.

"My friend didn't believe me that I was right. I'm like no, I've been here to two years. I always park on the east side of the street. Never been towed, never been an issue," said St. Paul resident Kay Mills, speaking to Fox 9 News.

People whose cars were towed were in line for three to five hours and had to pay a $138 fee to get their cars back. (Minnesota Daily)

St. Paul's snow emergency ended Sunday, reported the Star Tribune.

Minneapolis received 4.5 inches of snow late last week. (Downtown Journal)

Ex-Viking Eller begins sentence

Former Minnesota Viking Carl Eller left the Hennepin Country District Courthouse today to serve his 60 day sentence in a workhouse, reported the Star Tribune.

The Pioneer Press said the order from the judge came after Eller asked for 24 hours to get his affairs in order, a request the judge denied to the 67-year-old former pro-football player.

Eller was accompanied to court by his mother Ernestine. "Don't do this. I need him to go home with me. No, no, no," she said, according to the Star Tribune.

Eller was arrested due to his involvement in the assaulting of two police officers who attempted to pull Eller over for speeding and driving through a stop sign. "I think the actions of the court represent the severity of the crime," said Officer Gil Antaya, speaking to the Star Tribune.

He was originally facing four charges, one of which was a felony, but after a deal with prosecutors two of the charges, including the felony, were dropped.

Eller was also ordered to pay $1,500 for each charge, bringing the total to $3,000. (Pioneer Press)

February 17, 2009

Minneapolis man swindled out of over $200,000

Police say three people have swindled a 79-year-old Minneapolis man out of over $200,000 by taking advantage of him, reported KSAX-TV News.

Lucas James, 41, of Brooklyn Center, and Carolyn Bolden, 51, of Minneapolis, repeatedly came to the man seeking money for so-called kidnapped family members, gangster fees, and protection fees.

The victim, whose initials have only been revealed to be W.D. according to KARE 11 News, is a South Minneapolis resident who suffers from dementia. The victim said he cannot recall how he met James and Bolden, but that they claimed they would pay him back with an inheritance.

"I thought well, I've got some money and these people need it. Maybe I can help them out and they can eventually repay me for it," said the victim, speaking to KSAX-TV.

A third suspect, Denise Mefford, has not been charged yet, although she has admitted to swindling the man out of several thousands of dollars.

James and Bolden are currently not in custody. Each has been charged with six counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and theft by swindle.

They face a maximum of 10 to 20 years in prison, a $20,000 to $100,000 fine, or both, for each count.

February 16, 2009

University of Minnesota TCF Bank robbed

A man robbed a bank on the University of Minnesota campus Sunday afternoon, reported the Star Tribune.

The TCF Bank at 615 Washington Ave. SE was robbed by what the Star Tribune calls a "polite suspect".

The robber entered the bank, gave a note to a teller demanding cash, and after receiving the money from the teller, said, "Sorry man," before he left the bank.

The Pioneer Press reported the man fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

The suspect is reportedly a white male, 35-45 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a large build. He was wearing a dark green cotton coat, blue jeans, a green stocking cap with a green stripe on the bottom, gloves and brown shoes.

No injuries were reported. (Pioneer Press)

An award is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

February 10, 2009

Swan plan does more harm than good

Hundreds of hungry and injured trumpeter swans have not flown south for the winter as DNR officials hoped they would, reported the Star Tribune.

KARE 11 News reported that the species which was once almost gone, is now numbered at an estimated 3000 birds.

The problem started in December when DNR officials asked residents to stop feeding the swans in order to spur them to fly south to warmer climates for the winter and to fend for themselves to find food. The swans did not comply.

The harsh Minnesota winter was not help either. "The winter was more severe than we anticipated," said DNR nongame public information officer Lori Naumann, speaking to the Star Tribune.

About 40 swans have been taken in by the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, that number is double the usual amount.

"We've worked a generation to restore this magnificent bird and to have them wiped out by a highly contagious disease would be a shame," said Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Executive Director Phil Jenni, speaking to KARE 11.

That highly contagious disease could be caused by the birds flocking to one particular open body of water near the power plant in Monticello, Minn. It is an area where the birds at at a highly increased risk of disease, especially when they are all localized in one area.

Minnesota may get new giant power line

A Michigan company proposed a plan to construct a massive new power line that stretches across the Midwest on Monday, reported the Star Tribune.

The company, ITC Holdings Corp. of Novi, Mich., says it wants to build the 7,000 mile line through seven states including Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

The 765,000 volt line would get 25% of its energy from wind turbines across the midwest, reported The Pioneer Press.

The project is going to cost an estimated $12 billion to complete.

The plan, labeled as the "green power express" would bring about a reduction of 34 million metric tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of nine coal plants. (Star Tribune)

The company plans to win federal support by filing an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but the plan faces numerous problems within the individual states in which the power line would be built.

February 3, 2009

More assaults on U campus

Fox 9 News reported that the man who assaulted three women last week on the University of Minnesota campus has struck again.

The Star Tribune reported that two women have been assaulted in the past two days, bringing the total number of victims to five.

The suspect was seen riding a red bicycle and is described as a 6'3" black male in his 20s or 30s, wearing a black hate, brown coat and wearing sunglasses.

One of the latest attacks was the first on the campus' East Bank. It occurred near the Stub and Herbs restaurant. It also the first attack to occur later in the day. The previous three occurred around 8 in the morning, while the Sunday attack happened around 2p.m. The Monday attack occurred back on the West Bank in the late morning.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages obtained a police report that says two students were assaulted on Monday morning, as opposed to the one cited by the Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune reports that extra University and city police forces have been added to the area in hopes of apprehending the man.

Police are also investigating whether or not this individual is responsible for similar attacks in December. (Fox 9 News)

Student causes lockdown at Plymouth high school

A student at Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minn., brought a handgun to school on Monday, reports the Star Tribune.

The unnamed 17-year-old student tried to escape authorities, sending the school into lockdown. WCCO reports that the boy was being escorted to an office when he fled.

A school staff member told the Star Tribune that they saw the boy in a hallway with a bulge under his clothing. Principal David Dahl, in a note sent home to parents and obtained by WCCO, reports that the student was not supposed to be in the hallway at that particular time.

The student was later taken down by a K-9 officer off campus. The handgun was not found until the boy was apprehended.

The boy was then sent to North Memorial Medical center, but did not have any serious injuries. (WCCO)

The student faces suspension and possible expulsion.

January 28, 2009

Salmonella claims 3rd Minnesotan

An elderly Brainerd resident died Jan. 4 due to salmonella, the third Minnesotan to do so since the outbreak began, reports the Star Tribune.

The family of 87-year-old Doris Flatgard is now suing the Peanut Corporation of America, the company that produces the tainted peanut butter, for wrongful death.

Fred Pritzker, the Flatgard family attorney is currently involved in two salmonella related lawsuits, the other of which is in regards to another Minnesota woman who was the victim of the outbreak. In that case Pritzker is suing a Georgia peanut butter plant and an Ohio distributor. (Star Tribune)

According to Newsday, officials at the Georgia processing plant were aware that bacteria was present in their products as far back as 2007, but shipped them anyways.

Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Stephen Sundlof said to Newsday that the contamination at the plant was "technically a violation of the law."

Fox 9 News reports that 480 cases have been reported in 40 states, and the disease has claimed a total of seven lives. They also report that all three of the victims were having other health issues at the time of their deaths.

January 27, 2009

Minnesota Senate recount trial enters day two

Day two of the Minnesota Senate recount trial between Norm Coleman and Al Franken convened Tuesday morning, reports the Star Tribune.

During the trial's first day on Monday a three-judge panel told Coleman that he must subpoena and submit ballots that he contends should be reconsidered and counted. KSTP News reports that the panel requested 12,000 original absentee ballots be sent to St. Paul.

The Coleman campaign originally planned to make court approved photocopies of ballots, but after protest from the Franken campaign over marks on the ballots made by Coleman campaign workers and innacurate copying, the judges decided not to allow the photocopied ballots.

"Indeed, overturning the results of the recount, the hard work of the local and state canvassing boards and the state canvassing board certification result would be a breathtaking exercise of judicial power," said Franken legal team attorney Kevin Hamilton, speaking to KSTP News.

Franken leads Coleman by 225 votes.