St. Cloud police are investigating the dumping of deer carcasses on the hoods of two cars belonging to Somali men outside a YMCA this week.
The victims discovered the carcasses on the hood of their cars just before 10 p.m. Wednesday after working out inside the Y. Police viewed surveillance video and found a 14-year-old St. Cloud boy leaving the dead deer on the cars while his 62-year-old father looked on.
The two suspects, who have not been named, had gone inside the Y for about half an hour before returning to their truck. The boy then pulled out and discarded the carcasses on the cars, which were next to their truck, as his father watched, police said. The father and son told police that they needed to get rid of the carcasses and decided to dump them there.
Police said they don’t believe the suspects knew the victims. They also said there wasn’t anything in the victims’ vehicles that would have identified their race.
Haji Yussuf, a community organizer and friend of one of the victims, doesn’t believe the suspects’ explanation.
“It doesn’t even make sense. There are so many other places you can put a deer,” he said. “It’s a hateful action. It’s intimidation.”
Yussuf said his friend, who’s lived in St. Cloud for 14 years, was shaken by the incident. Yussuf urged city leaders to take action. “We can come together if we respond together,” he said.
Even if it was a “random act of ridiculousness instead of a hate crime,” Natalie Ringsmuth, director of #UniteCloud, a nonprofit in St. Cloud aiming to reduce racial tension, said, “the impact has left one of our neighbors living in fear.”
YMCA Executive Director Greg Gack said the organization is cooperating with the investigation and is committed to being an “inclusive organization.” He added: “Nothing like this has ever happened.”
The case was forwarded to the City Attorney’s Office for consideration of criminal charges.