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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
Hopkins police officer Sgt. Mike Glassberg was out patrolling Hopkins roads looking for violators on the first day of the new hands-free law. Officers

In first week of hands-free law, 678 Minnesotans cited

Forty percent of the citations were in Hennepin County.
Police: Suspect in custody after woman fatally shot in Brooklyn Park

Police: Suspect in custody after woman fatally shot in Brooklyn Park

Witnesses reported seeing the woman, whose name was not released, speaking with a man in the parking lot before she was shot.
Amy Kyllo, of Byron, was crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, Minn., on Wednesday, August 21, 2

19-year-old woman from Olmsted County crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way

Her first official duty is having her likeness carved into a block of butter.
ROAR organizer Jenna Cruz introduced Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at Tuesday night's meeting in Chaska.

Parents push for answers in Eastern Carver district after racist incidents

About 30 people meet for discussion with state attorney general.
Mia Gonzalez, 2, enjoyed the swings on the beach with her family from Texas, including her aunt Alya Gonzalez as they stayed clear of the water in Lak

Lake Nokomis beaches closed after E. coli sickens 3 kids

The Minneapolis lake's two popular beaches will remain shut down until further notice while the state Department of Health investigates. Health officials ask anyone who fell ill to contact them.
Flash flooding developed in north Minneapolis at W. Broadway and Interstate 94.

Twin Cities, southern Minnesota clean up after storms, several funnels

The heavy rain was bringing some flash flooding concerns. Elsewhere, the systems were spawning hail and possible tornadoes.
Brendon Garza

Charges: Social media dispute prompted triple shooting in Maplewood

A 23-year-old St. Paul man faces attempted murder charges. The victims were 12, 15 and 21.
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the scene after Minneapolis police shot and killed a man last week on the 2400 block of N. Emer

Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed man identified; man had shot his girlfriend

Investigators say Mario Benjamin, 32, shot his girlfriend in front of the couple's children before police arrived.
Gov. Tim Walz addressed a rally against gun violence on Wednesday night at the Minnesota State Capitol, flanked by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, left, and

Walz calls GOP Senate 'island of resistance' in gun debate

The governor echoed the statements later as hundreds rallied at the State Capitol in a rally against gun violence.
The home outside Barron, Wis., where 13-year-old Jayme Closs lived with her parents James, and Denise, pictured in October.

Wis. home where Jayme Closs was kidnapped, parents slain is torn down

The bank that owned the property had it demolished Tuesday.
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the scene after Minneapolis police shot and killed a man Friday on the 2400 block of Emerson Av

Man shot and killed by Minneapolis police is identified

Mario Philip Benjamin, 32, died of multiple gunshot wounds, autopsy shows.
Five injured in Metro Mobility bus crash in Blaine

Five injured in Metro Mobility bus crash in Blaine

Five people were injured after an SUV blew through a red light in Blaine Friday evening, striking a Metro Mobility bus. The State Patrol responded…
Authorities are looking for this two-door red Acura RSX in connection with the attempted abduction of a 7-year-old girl in Fridley on Friday.

Man tore 7-year-old girl off bike in Fridley abduction try, charges say

A witness yelled at the driver, who then fled, according to charges.
Brian Short and Karen Preiss Short, with their three kids, Madison, Brooklyn and Cole.

Suit claims Park Nicollet didn't do enough to treat Lake Minnetonka man who killed family, himself

Park Nicollet says it gave appropriate care to Brian Short, who killed his wife and children.

Man drowns in Maple Grove lake after police pursuit

It began hours earlier, when Corcoran and Rogers officers were trying to track down a black sedan involved in suspicious activity.

Carlton County deputy and Moose Lake man he shot and wounded are ID'd

The man was shot when officers tried to arrest him.

Maple Grove woman charged in drunken boating incident that seriously injured 2 teens

The boy and girl crashed into a dock during a birthday party on Eagle Lake.
Authorities are looking for this two-door red Acura RSX in connection with the attempted abduction of a 7-year-old girl in Fridley on Friday.

Police in Fridley ask for help identifying man who tried to abduct girl, 7

Authorities have a description of the car.

West St. Paul police arrest 2 men in connection with fatal shooting

The suspects from Little Canada and Oakdale are jailed and awaiting second-degree murder charges.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Girl Scouts safe after adventure in dark and stormy BWCA

Lightning strike near Chicago-area teens' tents led to alarm, then adventure.

Girl Scouts hurt by lightning evacuated from BWCA in overnight rescue

The group of nine people made it out about 4 a.m. today, with all "awake, alert and able to move without assistance" after the lightning strike, the St. Louis County Rescue Squad said.
Brian G. Hazelton

Suspect, deputies identified in Becker County shooting

A suicidal Becker County man who was shot by deputies during an armed standoff last week has been charged with three counts of assault.
Matthew Witt

Maple Grove man charged with killing mother, beating father

Authorities say Matthew G. Witt, 42, violently beat both his parents, killing his mother at their lakeside home.
Sarah Walker, then deputy Corrections Department commissioner, at a February rally at the State Capitol.

Complaints: Minn. corrections official lobbied on state time

Sarah Walker, who stepped down last week, vehemently denies claims that she lobbied for husband's nonprofit while serving as deputy corrections commissioner.
Maple Grove woman killed during apparent domestic assault

Maple Grove woman killed during apparent domestic assault

A male victim also suffered severe injuries. Police have a male suspect in custody.

Hastings man found dead in fishing boat on Mille Lacs

A 59-year-old Hastings man was found dead Saturday in his fishing boat after it washed up on the shores of on Lake Mille Lacs during…
Deputy Corrections Department Commissioner Sarah Walker, pictured at a rally in February, has resigned.

Top deputy at state Corrections Dept. resigns amid probe

A spokeswoman said the department has received complaints about Sarah Walker, but "the investigation has not been completed."
A competitor in the Milk Carton Boat race held in 2014.

E. coli surge sends annual milk carton boat races to dry land

Instead of paddling Sunday, participants will be on foot racing while carrying their homemade ships on dry land.
A motorist drove through flash flooding along Dunwoody Boulevard near Lyndale Avenue South on Tuesday in Minneapolis.

Rain falls fast and hard, causing street flooding in Twin Cities

More than 2 inches of rain fell within an hour on Tuesday.
Norm Coleman, shown in 2015 in Washington.

Norm Coleman says all visible signs of cancer removed from his lung

The former U.S. senator also said the cancer was more invasive than thought.
From left, Lennell Martin, Jeffery Young and Ronald Greer, co-editors of the Prison Mirror and inmates at the Stillwater Correctional Facility, sat fo

Stillwater prison newspaper sheds light on life behind bars

The monthly Prison Mirror connects prisoners to the outside world.
The site of the Coffee Cup restaurant in St. Paul.

Fire ravages beloved Coffee Cup restaurant in St. Paul

A minor injury was reported. Owners vowed to repair and reopen.
St. Paul College has been put on a two-year probation by an accreditation agency.

Amid turmoil, St. Paul College put on probation

Accrediting board cited concerns about high staff turnover, underqualified instructors and a failure to assess learning.
At least six people were hurt, including three critically, when a van slammed into a crowded bus stop shelter in north Minneapolis. All six were trans

Police ID driver who crashed into Minneapolis bus stop, injuring 6

The police report lists few other details about the incident that stunned witnesses and has investigators trying to find out exactly what happened.

West St. Paul police are investigating a possible homicide

A friend found a 21-year-old man dead from gunshot wounds in his apartment.

Suspected car thief fleeing police strikes, kills motorcyclist near New Richmond, Wis.

The male on the motorcycle died at the scene, and the driver of a Jeep was taken into custody, officials said.
The search for a man missing on the Crow River was focusing on an area in St. Michael near NE. 36th Circle, officials said.

Authorities recover body of missing Maplewood man on Crow River

The man's body was discovered not far from where he was last seen by friends, said Lt. Todd Sandin.

Two men shot, wounded in downtown Minneapolis

The gunfire broke out around bar closing time. A juvenile is in custody.
Steven Parker

St. Paul man charged in back-to-back suspected hate-motivated crimes

The 59-year-old is accused of stealing from a local Walgreens while yelling profanities, referencing the manager's Mexican heritage, then violently attacking a minority worker at Metro State.
Research pigs raised for Mayo Clinic, living in a sealed environment in 2000.

Mayo Clinic halts medical testing on live animals

Research hospital joins a wave of institutions dropping use of animals.
A sign for Bde Maka Ska at 32nd Street Beach.

Three Minneapolis beaches now closed through at least July 10 due to high bacteria levels

Large volumes of stormwater caused the problem.
The area near a standoff in Eagan on Tuesday night.

Domestic assault suspect fatally shot after standoff in Eagan

Police believe he assaulted a woman, then fled.
Andrew Erskine Wheeler, an acting instructor on staff at the Children’s Theatre Company, held a sign as he stood in support of survivors during a pr

CTC artists issue demands after past sexual assault cases

A fund for victims is among the five requests, part of an open letter.
The DNR and other law enforcement agencies are kicking off Operation Dry Water, a concerted effort to crack down on drunken boaters this weekend. In 2

DNR ramping up July 4th patrols to deter drunken boaters on Minn. lakes

Operation Dry Water campaign will run Friday through Sunday.

Searchers recover body of missing swimmer at Bloomington's Bush Lake

Authorities cleared the busy beachfront and worked into the evening before locating the 18-year-old's body at nightfall.
“It wasn’t a healthy policy,” Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said.

Shakopee women's prison to discontinue 'no-touch' policy

Corrections commissioner says "a more humane approach" is needed.

One killed, five wounded in shootings on St. Paul's East Side

The homicide was the city's 12th of the year.

Shootings leave one dead, five injured on St. Paul's East Side

The homicide is the city's 12th of the year.

St. Louis Park will reconsider its decision to drop Pledge

A city spokeswoman confirmed that St. Louis Park officials would resume discussions on whether to require the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of city meetings "after hearing many comments from the community."
Coon Rapids police released this sketch of the suspect.

16-year-old girl attacked on path in Coon Rapids; police release sketch

The teen was riding her skateboard just after 9 a.m. near Coon Rapids Boulevard when a man then grabbed her and pulled her into the woods
Kim Crockett, vice president and general counsel at Center of the American Experiment, shown in 2018 at a Minnesota State Capitol news conference.

Minn. think tank official suspended over comments to New York Times

Kim Crockett has apologized after criticizing Minnesota's influx of Somali immigrants
The Northstar station in Coon Rapids, shown in 2012.

Bicyclist struck, killed by Northstar commuter train in Fridley

The crash happened about 4:30 p.m. just before the Riverdale Station in Coon Rapids.
Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.

St. Paul police investigate possible hate crime at Metro State University

The victim said he was asked why he was in the U.S.

Death of construction worker at St. Paul job site under state investigation

Corey Buerke died after a large object fell on him Tuesday at Phalen Regional Park.
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, a Delta Air Lines jet waits on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport in New York.

Delta says technical problems that led to delays have been addressed

The "technical issues" caused delays for passengers who are trying to book tickets, check in and board flights, the airline said.
Don Amorosi has kept his son’s bedroom as it was, with Archer’s poster of Muhammad Ali, boxing gloves and photos of other athletes.

Father of slain Chanhassen teen fights for police reform on mental health calls

Since his son was killed by deputies in Chanhassen, he has fought for reform.
Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell took part of a Jan. 25 tour of Stillwater prison.

Minnesota Corrections Department shakes up leadership at state prisons

Commissioner Paul Schnell called the move an opportunity for "fresh perspectives" at Minnesota correctional facilities.
Firefighters were at the scene of an accidental explosions at a Metro Transit building during training in St. Paul on Wednesday.

Metro Transit officer hurt in accidental explosion at St. Paul facility

The blast happened during a canine training exercise at a bus facility in St. Paul.

Suspect arrested following police pursuit and crash into Maplewood home

No one was hurt, but several residents were evacuated.
In 2011, a sign posted inside Kohler Hall, a high-level secure building at Totem Town School, advised visitors of the rules.

Boys Totem Town in St. Paul set to close as numbers drop

The move reflects a shift away from confinement for juvenile offenders.
Agent Rick Defiel, left, talked with Daniel, a former inmate on supervised release, during a surprise evening visit.

Growing number of felons strain probation system in Minnesota

Minnesota has 5,000 more felons under supervision today than in 2014. But the number of agents who check on the highest-risk offenders has remained stagnant.
Judge Kathryn Quaintance

Judge makes Mohamed Noor trial evidence available for public viewing starting May 24

The notice from Judge Kathryn Quaintance's court stipulated that journalists and members of the public can examine 300 trial exhibits.
Mohamed Noor's Department of Corrections booking photo.

Star Tribune, MPR seek copies of public evidence from Mohamed Noor's trial

Letters to the city of Minneapolis, the Department of Public Safety and the Hennepin County Attorney's Office requested release no later than Friday.
Aadan Muuse Abdilahi was last seen about 9:40 p.m. Friday.

Minneapolis police ask for help in finding missing 56-year-old man

Aadan Muuse Abdilahi was last seen Friday night and is in need of his medications.
Amber Hopkins

Woman found in Minneapolis snow pile had overdosed

But it remains unclear how Amber Hopkins, 31, wound up covered in debris behind an abandoned home on the city's North Side.
Dr. Thomas J. Stillwell

Minnesota doctor dies in plane crash near Moose Lake airport

The Navy veteran was flying to the Twin Cities.
Edward Yoshikawa

Edward Yoshikawa, who went from internment camp to WWII unit, dies at 94

"They were out to prove they were loyal citizens," said Pearl, his wife of 71 years. "They fought together to save America."
Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman’s housing nonprofit is behind again on property taxes and also owes three contractors more than $160,000, a

Blake Huffman to step down from Ramsey County Board

The resignation came a day after a conflict-of-interest ruling on his nonprofit's dealings.
Minneapolis firefighters responded Tuesday to a report of a hazardous substance in a Dinkytown-area building. Residents, many of them University of Mi

Dinkytown residents get OK to go home, hazardous material being evaluated

A Dinkytown-area residence was ev­acu­at­ed after an "un­con­firmed re­port of ri­cin," ac­cord­ing to the Fire Department. Hundreds were displaced by the response to the Marshall, a build­ing that caters to University of Minnesota students.
Shakopee women's prison

4 Shakopee corrections officers fired in connection with sexual assault of inmate

One is charged with sexual assault, others with covering it up.
Police: Girl, 11, in critical condition after being struck while exiting school bus

Police: Girl, 11, in critical condition after being struck while exiting school bus

A 60-year-old man was arrested and is jailed on suspicion of criminal vehicular operation.
Martha Perea was comforted by a friend while clutching a photo of her husband on the steps of the house where the couple lived. Martha Perea’s husba

Brooklyn Park man charged in death of Minneapolis motorist while fleeing police

The victim, Jose Madrid Salcido, is survived by a wife and four young children.
Women gathered at the Karmel Village Apartments after two children fell from an apartment building at S. 28th and Pleasant Avenue Thursday May 2, 2019

Brothers fell 55 feet from roof, landed on patio, police say

They climbed over a barrier meant to prevent falls and plummeted from the roof of the building on Minneapolis' Midtown Greenway.

St. Paul police investigating fatal shooting in city's North End

No arrests have been made in the death, which was the city's eighth homicide of 2019.
Martha Perea was comforted by a friend while clutching a photo of her husband on the steps of the house where the couple lived. Martha Perea’s husba

Victim's family grieves, suspect in fatal crash awaits charges

The 27-year-old suspect from Brooklyn Park had been convicted on a charge of fleeing police just weeks before Wednesday's fatal crash at N. 36th and Aldrich avenues in Minneapolis.
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