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Liz Sawyer

Reporter | Breaking news, crime and corrections
Phone: 612-673-4648
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None
Liz Sawyer covers breaking news, crime and corrections for the Star Tribune. She previously wrote about suburban life in the south metro.

Sawyer graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications with a degree in newspaper and online journalism. She worships her alma mater's college hoops team and believes that an orange is, in fact, a suitable mascot.
Recent content from Liz Sawyer
Curtis LeMair, a wrestler at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., died in his residence hall.

Freshman from Prior Lake found dead in South Dakota college dorm room

Authorities say they do not suspect foul play.

3 face multiple felony charges in Twin Cities armed robberies

Police caught up with the trio after they allegedly crashed a stolen vehicle into a police cruiser.
Archer Amorosi, 16.

Carver County deputies who shot and killed Chanhassen teen won't be charged

Archer Amorosi charged at officers after he implored them to shoot him, the report said.

Police: Armed robbery suspects crashed stolen vehicle into Apple Valley police cruiser

Two adult males and one teenage boy have been arrested.
The Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota's only level five, maximum security prison.

5 corrections officers injured at Oak Park Heights prison

All were treated at area hospitals and released.
Andrea Parise, center, widow of corrections officer Joseph Parise, leaves his graveside services at Fairview Cemetery in Stillwater, Minn., on Tuesday

'He was a hero' : Hundreds of officers salute correctional officer Joe Parise at Fort Snelling funeral

Full honors salute second corrections officer to die on duty in 2 months.
Fort Snelling funeral for corrections officer Joe Parise planned Tuesday

Fort Snelling funeral for corrections officer Joe Parise planned Tuesday

The Oak Park Heights officer will have a full line-of-duty procession to honor his service.

18-year-old jailed after incident in which Minneapolis police officer fired gun

He pulled a gun on pursuing officers, authorities say.
Teen charged in deadly distracted-driving crash in Elk River

Teen charged in deadly distracted-driving crash in Elk River

An off-duty Blaine police officer and a University of Minnesota professor were killed in June.
A Woodbury police officer was seriously injured early Friday when his squad car was rear-ended on Interstate 494.

Woodbury officer seriously injured in overnight crash with tow truck on I-494

Officer Bryan Wagner, 30, remains hospitalized with "significant injuries" and is expected to survive.
Oak Park Heights Corrections officers Jeff Vars, and Derek Magle, also AFSCME local 915 officers and AFSCME council 5 associate director Tim Henderson

Corrections officers union calls for harsher penalties for assaulting staff in Minn. prisons

Renewed calls for reforms come one day after the death of an officer rushing to help another colleague being assaulted by an inmate at Oak Park Heights prison.
Everson Griffen

Griffen involved in police incident Saturday at Minneapolis hotel

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen remains away from the team for what coach Mike Zimmer called "a personal matter" after Griffen was involved in an police incident Saturday.

Crash that caused backup on I-94 in western Wisconsin is cleared

The crash east of Menomonie casued 3-plus-mile backups.

Minneapolis man killed in rear-end crash after vehicle stalls on I-494

A Minneapolis man was killed in a rear-end crash early Friday after his vehicle stalled in the middle of Interstate 494, on the Bloomington-Richfield border,…
A small plane was ripped from its hangar and flipped by a tornado at Faribault Municipal Airport earlier Thursday night.

Severe storms cause 'significant' damage in southeastern Minn.

In the Twin Cities, residents sloshed through flooded streets in some areas. Clouds and storms are expected to clear out Friday, with clear skies and cool temperatures moving in.

Inmate attacks corrections officer at Rush City prison

She was punched in the face while at her desk.
The booking mug for Kevin Rust from the Barron County Sheriff's Department.

Benilde-St. Margaret's tennis coach fired, faces felony sex charges

Kevin Rust, 59, of Minnetonka, was arrested earlier this summer during an undercover internet child enticement investigation.
The University of Minnesota .

Student found dead at frat house near U's St. Paul campus identified

Police do not believe foul play or hazing were involved in the 20-year-old's death.
A makeshift memorial was set up in the alley just behind Cliff N Norms bar in Minneapolis, where one man was killed and three were injured by gunfire

Police comb for clues after 3 are shot dead in Minneapolis, St. Paul

Police ask witnesses to come forward: "Help us help you."
Minneapolis police responding to a report of shots fired Friday night in the Cedar-Riverside area found a man dead in a car behind Hard Times Cafe.

2 men are dead, 3 people hurt in two Minneapolis shootings

One man was found dead outside a bar near W. Broadway and Washington Avenue N. Another man was found slain in a car behind a Cedar-Riverside cafe.

Toddler found wandering in Minneapolis reunited with family

The child, estimated to be about 18 months old, was found walking barefoot in the 2700 block of Nicollet Avenue S.
Joseph Gomm

Stillwater prison employees' refusal to work in vocational area highlights safety dispute

The union for Minnesota correctional officers is demanding more staff and cameras.
Water from torrential rains cascades over Cannon Falls on the Little Cannon River after big rainfalls Tuesday and early Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in C

Major floods fail to develop, but southwest Wisconsin remains on guard

A flood warning remains in effect through Thursday evening from Ontario, Wis., to Steuben.
Assistant Chief Kathy Wuorinen congratulates Officer Alexander Graham, right, for earning two Lifesaving Awards on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018.

St. Paul police officer honored with two lifesaving awards

St. Paul's Alexander Graham kept two victims from bleeding to death.
Sister Mary Virginia Micka

Poet, artist and English professor Sister Mary Virginia Micka dies at 96

Even after retirement, she couldn't bear to leave behind the classroom or her art.
In this Jan. 6, 2018 file photo, St. Paul K-9 Gilly, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, sat for a portrait with his partner officer Colleen Rooney.

Mayor Carter halts K-9 demonstrations at State Fair

No canine demonstrations are permitted until the police department's K-9 audit is complete.

Operator of Farmington shelter where 64 cats were found dead is charged with animal cruelty

After numerous complaints, authorities in May removed more than 40 live cats, five dogs, a farm pig, guinea pig and a dead rabbit from a single-family home in rural Dakota County.

Fairmont officer cleared in fatal police shooting

The BCA determined that officer Craig Fowler was justified in using deadly force against 23-year-old Nicholas D. Moore.
Judge Nancy Brasel

Senate confirms Hennepin County Judge Nancy Brasel for federal bench

Eric Tostrud, a Minneapolis private attorney, is also expected to be confirmed by week's end.
Michael A. Herkal

Burnsville father charged with murder following death of infant

Michael A. Herkal remains jailed in lieu of $750,000 bail.

Toddler run over, injured in central Minnesota parking lot

The 23-month-old girl was airlifted to Children's Hospital of Minneapolis from a Douglas County park.
Eden Prairie Police Chief Jim DeMann

Eden Prairie police chief to retire Sept. 28

Chief Jim DeMann will hand the reins to Deputy Chief Greg Weber.

Cass County drowning victim identified as 37-year-old Wisconsin woman

Panhia Danielle Yang, of Sheboygan, Wis., was discovered unresponsive near shore by other beachgoers about 4:20 p.m. on Aug. 18.
Ashton Bellefeuille, of Waubun, Minn.

Search is on for missing Minnesota teen last seen near Ogema

Ashton Bellefeuille, 16, of Waubun, was last seen Tuesday.

Prince's family suing doctor who prescribed him pain pills

Dr. Michael Schulenberg failed to treat the star's addiction, lawsuit argues.

Gov. Dayton deploys Minnesota National Guard to battle 500-acre wildfire in Beltrami County

The blaze outgrew a Department of Natural Resources prescribed burn to manage brushlands in northwestern Minnesota.

Charges: Burnsville man raped ex-girlfriend, then posted video of assault on Facebook

  A 28-year-old Burnsville man was charged Thursday with criminal sexual conduct for allegedly raping his former girlfriend as she slept in their child’s bed,…
Tony Mitchell Krueger

Northwest Minnesota inmate who escaped into soybean field is captured

The manhunt for 20-year-old Tony Mitchell Krueger lasted six hours.
The scene of an officer involved shooting in Chanhassen, Minn., on July 13, 2018.

Father of Chanhassen teen killed by police requests city investigation

"Our kids cannot be killed by those who are here to protect and serve," Don Amorosi said.
St. Paul police were investigating a homicide in the city’s Eastview neighborhood.

Man, 20, shot and killed in St. Paul

A 20-year-old man was shot and killed Sunday afternoon in St. Paul's Eastview neighborhood, authorities said.

Maple Grove woman dies of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning; fumes send 3 officers to hospital

Three police officers were treated at a hospital for exposure to the fumes, authorities said.
A rendering of Canterbury Commons public space

Canterbury Park gets final OK for luxury housing, commercial development

Construction of Canterbury Commons, a gated luxury housing complex at the Shakopee racetrack, is expected to begin this fall.
A large crowd watched two knights battle at the end of the jousting competition.

Renaissance Festival faces sexual harassment, hostile-workplace suit

Festival managers deny the allegations, say they have no knowledge of inappropriate behavior.

For the first time, state inmates have access to free tampons

Nina McCoy counts herself as one of the lucky ones. With the help of her family, she could afford the personal-hygiene products she needed during…
Authorities posted this information on Twitter.

Mistakenly freed Sioux Falls prisoner is back in jail

Jailers set free the wrong inmate Monday after accidentally switching court records.
Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy announced changes at Stillwater prison on Friday.

Stillwater prison building where officer was killed will be closed

Shutting the industry building where the corrections officer was killed is one of a number changes the state prison system plans to make in the wake of the slaying.
Police are responding to an active situation at the Costco in Burnsville on Wednesday.

Burnsville Costco evacuated, police respond to report of man with gun in parking lot

Burnsville police were warning on Twitter for people to "please stay out of the area," near Burnhaven Drive and McAndrews Road.
A LimeBike dockless bike.

Dockless LimeBike rentals hit streets of Edina

The long-awaited bikes can be found in 50th & France, Southdale areas.

Minneapolis man found dead in car after gunfire in south Minneapolis

Officers responded at 2:41 a.m. to a report of shots fired in the area of the 5700 block of 33rd Avenue S. and found the body.
Police investigated the scene of a shooting between a suspect and two South St. Paul police officers on Thursday.

'Constantly shooting' suspect wounds 2 officers in South St. Paul

Gunfire broke out at a residence for people with mental illness. The suspect shooter was taken into custody without injury.
St. Paul police were investigating a man shot Thursday night near the intersection of Rice Street and Front Avenue, in the MaMa’s Pizza parking lot.

St. Paul police investigating shooting

One man was shot around 10 p.m. near the intersection of Rice Street and Front Avenue, police confirm.
At the Department of Corrections in St. Paul, Commissioner Tom Roy confirmed the death of Joseph Gomm from an assault Wednesday by an inmate at the st

Stillwater inmate serving time for homicide kills guard

The officer was identified as Joseph Gomm, who had been on the job for 16 years. The attack prompted a lockdown of all state prisons.
The scene of an officer-involved shooting in Chanhassen, Minn., on Friday that left a Minnetonka High School student dead.

BCA names deputies who fatally shot Chanhassen teen, says he was armed with BB gun, hatchet

Archer Amorosi's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Lennar Corp. plans to develop 188 acres bordering two lakes, property formerly owned by Prince. Neighbors fear losing a pristine recreation area.

Neighbors oppose plans for 200 homes on Prince property in Chanhassen

More than 20 neighbors spoke against the project, which they fear will damage neighborhood lakes, clear-cut acres of forest and increase congestion.
Patrons on the outdoor patio at Lord Fletcher's in Spring Park, Minn.

Orono police investigate two reported druggings at Lord Fletcher's

Authorities recommend that bar patrons keep a close eye on their drinks.
Mindy Barry, a neighbor and friend of Don Damond, placed a candle at a memorial set up at the site where Justine Damond Ruszczyk was killed by Minneap

On anniversary of her death, Damond remembered in Mpls.

A bench with her name on it was dedicated near Minnehaha Creek.

Former Shakopee City Hall site could see redevelopment

Apartment proposal designed with young professionals in mind.
The scene of an officer-involved shooting in Chanhassen on Friday that left a 16-year-old boy dead with his parents nearby after a brief standoff outs

Standoff outside Chanhassen home ends with teen shot, killed

The BCA, which is investigating the shooting by Carver County deputies, says a Taser was used before the shooting. Friends identified the 16-year-old as an incoming Minnetonka High junior.
A bear hopped over a guardrail near Lord Fletcher's tavern on Saturday afternoon. Authorities later shot and killed it, deeming it a public safety haz

Black bear killed near Lake Minnetonka after deemed safety threat

Sighting one of many reported recently in southern Minnesota, south of the animals' traditional range.
Former Shakopee schools Superintendent Rod Thompson appeared in court Friday morning on new charges alleging that he illegally accessed and altered fi

Ex-Shakopee schools chief appears in court on new charges

Rod Thompson, already charged with embezzlement, is facing new charges that he illegally accessed school data.
The closing weekend for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival saw near perfect weather Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, in Shakopee, MN. Here, Tuey the comic stun

Renaissance Festival staff leave amid sexual misconduct investigation

Accused director is not among departures.
Thousands marched through downtown Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon to demonstrate agains the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Thousands join Mpls. march opposing immigration policies

The Families Belong Together protest, one of hundreds taking place across the country, packed at least six downtown blocks before heading back to the Convention Center.
The “Wash and Learn” program is an initiative aimed at closing the digital divide.

Scott County Library brings books, services to laundromat

The six-week pilot program is aiming to close the digital divide.
Rod Thompson

Former Shakopee superintendent accessed school files illegally, charges say

Former Shakopee school chief Rod Thompson already was charged with embezzling more than $70,000, and new charges say he illegally accessed and altered school files on the internet.
A woman was overcome with emotion during a prayer held for the man killed by Minneapolis Police hours earlier in North Minneapolis. She was part of an

Man fatally shot by police in north Minneapolis alley

At a late-night news conference at City Hall, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo stressed that the investigation, led by the BCA, will be "absolutely transparent."
Blaine community service officer Jennah Justen gave Ranger, the Nanneys' dog, a new home.

Blaine officer adopts dog after motorcycle crash kills colleague, wife

A colleague who regularly served as a dogsitter for the couple has stepped in to adopt Ranger, their chocolate Lab.

Bail set at $100K for Renaissance festival ex-manager accused of rape

The suspended manager has an Aug. 30 court date.
Susie and Steve Nanney

Blaine police officer, wife killed in motorcycle crash

Four motorcyclists died on Twin Cities highways in a 24-hour span.

Driver in north Mpls. crash that killed 2 could face charges, police say

"Speed, reckless and impaired driving are all thought to be possible causes of the crash," said police spokesman John Elder.
Carr Leon Hagerman photo: Hennepin County Sheriff’s office.

Renaissance Festival manager accused of raping photographer on fairgrounds

Carr Hagerman was charged Tuesday with sexual assault and was being held in jail without bail.

Rat infestation forces closure of Duluth elementary school

Pest control workers are trapping five rodents per day under the school's foundation.

Man found shot at north Minneapolis intersection dies at hospital

Police found the victim at the intersection of Lowry and Fremont avenues N.

Gas leak prompts evacuation in downtown Belle Plaine

Several dozen people were evacuated.
Pepper the poodle.

Aggressive doe remains on loose in Shoreview after fatally stomping poodle

The deer may have been protecting a fawn.
Scores of onlookers rooted on the raccoon as it moved next door to the UBS Tower and scaled the concrete skyscraper, making it up as high as the 20th

Raccoon that scaled skyscraper in downtown St. Paul is safe and sound

The little critter's antics on the exterior of a downtown office tower delighted scores of onlookers in person and online.
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