April 11: Mpls. robbery turns deadly

  • Article by: MATT MCKINNEY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 12, 2012 - 9:35 PM

Witness: Man was killed after three youths tried to rob him of his bicycle.

A food delivery to a neighbor three blocks away turned deadly for Jody Lynmarvin Patzner Jr., 22, on Monday night when three boys confronted him as he biked on Fremont Avenue in north Minneapolis, according to family members and a witness.

The boys yelled at him that they wanted his bike, then shot at him twice, running away as Patzner continued to bike for 30 feet before collapsing on the sidewalk. He died moments later in the 3500 block of Fremont Avenue N. as neighbors along the street tried to help, according to a witness.

The robbery attempt took place just minutes after Patzner left his father's house with a plate of lasagna, headed for the home of a family friend who frequently gets food and help from the Patzners, said Tara Hesser, his stepmother.

"He was a really good kid," she said. "He loved music. He really loved NASCAR. He loved football." She said her stepson had made the three-block run to their friend's house many times.

"He left at 8:30. At 8:34 there were gunshots," she said.

A Minneapolis police spokesman said the case is under investigation and declined to make further comment.

A neighbor who said she witnessed the attack said the three assailants were walking on the east side of the street when they confronted Patzner, who was biking past.

"They was harassing him and stuff," said the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. "He didn't give them no feedback or nothing."

"They said 'Give me your bike ... give me your bike ...' Pop! Pop!"

The assailants ran off as Patzner biked on, passing the witness before collapsing.

"I said, 'Are you all right? Are you all right?' He said 'No, help me, help me,'" the woman said.

As several other neighbors rushed out of their houses, the witness stayed with Patzner, watching him die just before emergency vehicles arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene, a second witness said.

Natasha Dennie, 36, was driving her taxicab in the area when she spotted Patzner on the sidewalk and got out to help.

"I was there to comfort him and do whatever I could," Dennie said.

She said two women were also there and called police. When Dennie went home, all she could think about was Patzner's face as he gasped for air.

"I couldn't get him out of my head," she said.

Patzner's stepmother said the family heard the gunshots and sirens but didn't think anything of it until their friend called at 8:48 p.m., asking if Patzner was on his way.

Alarmed, Hesser and Patzner Sr. ran to the site of the shooting but were held back by police, who told them to go home while investigators collected evidence. Two hours later, police confirmed the family's fears that their son had been shot.

"We're moving," Hesser said. "I'm getting out of Minneapolis. When you can't leave one block from your own house, that's ridiculous."

Patzner Jr. was a 2008 graduate of Big Lake High School. He struggled to hold a full-time job because of his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said his stepmother.

Jody Patzner Sr. said his son was his "roadie," helping lug instruments and gear for his father's band.

"He was a jack of all trades," he said of his son. "We did the landscaping for the guy next door. He and I painted this house, because we were victims of the storm last year."

Patzner Sr. said he walked to the corner store Tuesday morning after a sleepless night and the store clerk there, accustomed to seeing Patzner Jr., asked him where his son was.

"He's dead," was all Patzner could say.

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747

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