Woman's death in parking ramp under investigation

  • Article by: ASHA ANCHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 24, 2012 - 11:57 PM

Minneapolis police say Saturday night stabbing in downtown ramp does not appear to have been a random attack.

The fatal stabbing of a 45-year-old woman in a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp over the weekend does not appear to have been the result of a random attack, police said Sunday.

An employee of the ramp at 9th Street and LaSalle Avenue called security guards about 9 p.m. Saturday after finding the woman lying on the ramp's concrete floor, and police were quickly summoned, said Sgt. Stephen McCarty.

The "suspicious death" of the woman, whose name has not been released, is under investigation, he said, and he gave no information about a possible motive. Police are interviewing people who were in the area at the time and reviewing surveillance tape from the ramp.

No one has been arrested, McCarty said.

The killing came on a busy weekend, with tens of thousands of residents and visitors flocking downtown to the Pride Festival and other events. No major problems were reported at any of those events.

Charlie Aucapina, 21, of Minneapolis, a valet at the nearby Le Meridien Chambers Hotel, 901 Hennepin Av., said Sunday afternoon that a coworker found the woman lying in the ramp the night before as he parked a car. Aucapina said his coworker thought she was intoxicated and called ramp security, but later found out that she had died.

"It's getting more dangerous in downtown Minneapolis the last few years," said Aucapina. "It's shocking that it happens right there. I'm [parking cars] there sometimes at 12:30 at night."

Aucapina said he parked a few cars in the same lot Sunday morning and noticed a strip of ripped-down yellow crime-scene tape and a pool of water on the basement level where he believes officials tried to clean up after the stabbing.

Ben Phillips, 25, was unaware of the stabbing when he locked up his bike outside the parking garage on Sunday afternoon to go watch the Pride parade on Hennepin Avenue.

"I really think Minneapolis is a safe place," said Phillips, who said he considered the crime an outlier. "I've never had a problem downtown."

But Nicole Kubitschek, a 22-year-old waitress at American Burger in LaSalle Plaza, said hearing about the stabbing made her think twice about being downtown by herself.

Kubitschek, who heard about the stabbing while working Saturday night, said she was thankful that the restaurant made sure she and other employees are escorted to their cars after their shifts.

"I'm down here running around at night all the time," she said. "I obviously don't know the girl, but that could so easily be anyone."

Eric Sandrock, who owns American Burger, said he's witnessed a number of disturbing incidents through his restaurant's windows. He said he recently chased down a man he saw bash a woman's head into a wall across the street. While the fatal stabbing didn't surprise him, he said, it's also not something he wants to get used to hearing about downtown.

"That's the kind of stuff we can't tolerate," he said. "We all have to be guarded and watch."

Asha Anchan • 612-673-4154

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