Two patrol officers, who saved the life of a man who had been stabbed in downtown Minneapolis after refusing to give a cigarette to a 14-year-old girl, were praised for their actions today.
Department spokesman John Elder praised the quick thinking of officers Adam Moen and Corey Schmidt in responding to a stabbing call near the corner of 5th Street and Nicolet Mall. The incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, according to police.
"It was all the right place, right time," said Moen, who has been with the department for two years, "and there weren't many people out here so we could pick them up real quick."
Police later arrested three people in connection with the stabbing — two girls, ages 14 and 16, and an 18-year-old Anoka woman — and charged each with first-degree assault with great bodily harm, a felony, Elder said.
The three were arrested shortly after the incident. Elder said that prosecutors were considering whether to charge the 16-year-old girl as an adult.
According to police, the victim was approached by the three suspects, one of whom pulled out a knife and stabbed him after he refused a request for a cigarette.
Schmidt, a 15-year veteran of the force, said that he and his partner pulled up to the scene to find the 19-year-old victim "stumbling, holding his chest." The man had a two-inch stab wound in his chest, Schmidt said. The officers used an adhesive patch, known as a “chest seal,” to close the stab wound, trying to staunch the bleeding before paramedics arrived.
The officers' actions most likely saved the man's life, Elder told a group of reporters near where the stabbing occurred.
Five people were wounded in separate shootings last night in Minneapolis, the latest in a wave of gun violence plaguing the city, police said.
In the first incident, three people — two men, 28 and 53, and a 14-year-old girl — were shot when they were caught in a dispute between two men outside of the Penn Gas gas station, 2606 Penn Av. N., according to an incident report. All three were taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The shooting, which happened about 7:50 p.m. Wednesday, involved “one guy intentionally shooting at another” and was “not a random act,” said police spokesman John Elder.
The second shooting occurred about 9:11 p.m. at 19 Bar, a popular hangout near the Minneapolis Convention Center, when two men — ages 32 and 26 — were shot by a disgruntled patron, who only minutes before had been kicked out of the club for bringing a dog inside.
Police said the man, who was apparently drunk, became “verbally abusive and refused to leave” after being refused service and was eventually escorted out. Police said that he fired several shots from a handgun into the bar, at 19 15th St. W., striking the two victims.
Both men were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, Elder said.
Both shootings are under investigation.
U.S. Attorney Andy Luger announced the indictment of eight people Friday on charges of operating a heroin distribution ring in north Minneapolis that attracted drug buyers from all over the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs.
The indictments were part of “Operation Exile,” a cooperated effort by the Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force, which is comprised of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Minneapolis, Edina, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Eden Prairie police departments.
Half of the ring's members (who called themselves "The Crew"), including the alleged ringleader, Richard Lee English, 37, – also known as “Nation” – are from Chicago, authorities said. The others indicted and their hometowns were:
Luger said the indictments sent a strong message to other drug-dealing operations that "there is, if you're a heroin dealer, no safe place in Minnesota to do business."
"If you're a Chicago heroin supplier, don't sell your poison here in Minnesota," he told reporters at a press conference in Minneapolis Monday.
As part of its continued efforts to beef up its community policing program, the Minneapolis Police Department this week announced a series of forums to better connect with the public.
The three forums, jointly sponsored by the department and the city of Minneapolis, will be held in various locations across the city and focus on moving “us all closer to our collective goal of increasing public safety and public trust,” according to a news release.
The three forums will be held:
Mayor Betsy Hodges on Friday defended the community-engagement record of police Chief Janeé Harteau, who has come under fire after pulling out of a listening session last week in south Minneapolis over security concerns.
But, in a blog posting Friday, the mayor conceded that Harteau could have done a better job explaining why she pulled out of the meeting at the last minute. It was the first time Hodges has publicly acknowledged a misstep by the chief, since Harteau took the job nearly two years ago.
The police department also unveiled "Chat With the Chief," an informal chance for citizens to get some face time with Harteau, the dates and locations for which have not been announced.
A 23-year-old Minneapolis man nabbed by police after a robbery at a Walgreens on Hiawatha Avenue has confessed to 12 other robberies at drug stores and gas stations in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Brookyn Center.
Robert Abraham Lee was arrested Sept. 8 after Minneapolis police were called to the Walgreens at 4547 Hiawatha Av. Lee had allegedly demanded Xanax from a clerk while showing the handle of a Taser -- which the clerk thought was a gun. He later forced a cashier to provide money from a drawer before walking to the nearby light rail station and hopping a bus.
Police stopped the bus and arrested Lee, who later confessed to a string of robberies that began Dec. 29 at the Winner Gas Station at 3333 Cedar Av. S. Lee said he also robbed six separate Super America stations and two Walgreens in Minneapolis, along with a CVS in Brooklyn Center and three Walgreens in St. Paul.
Five of the robberies were committed on one night: New Year's Eve. Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said Lee sought drugs and money in his robberies.
Until this week's robbery, Elder said police had plenty of footage of Lee's crimes but no leads on a suspect. He credited the quick work of officers and bystanders who reported the latest incident and let police know Lee was headed to a bus stop.
Lee has been charged with four counts of first degree robbery in connection with the robbery of the Hiawatha Avenue Walgreens, and more charges are pending.
"We solved a lot of crimes and that's why it was a big get for us," Elder said.
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