Dying man robbed, Minneapolis cops say

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 6, 2013 - 5:47 AM

A man died of injuries suffered in Minneapolis attack. Charges were filed against Vereice Washington.

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Photo: Vereice Washington, Hennepin County jail

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A man who followed an intoxicated man down Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis was joined by two others before one punched him in the face and stole his cellphone as he lay unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk, according to charges against one of the suspects.

Adrian Hernandez, 44, of Minneapolis, fell after he was struck and his head hit the pavement shortly before 3 a.m. Aug. 22 near 10th Street and Hennepin Avenue S., according to the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office.

He suffered a brain injury and died Sunday night.

The father of grown children worked doing makeup for clients at salons in the Twin Cities and had been a lay leader in the Catholic Church, said friend Melissa Melnick.

“We talked some about his interest in religion and God,” said Melnick, who is a pastor intern in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “It was a conversation I was looking forward to continuing about him being a leader in [the ELCA].”

Hospital staff told investigators soon after the assault that Hernandez was bleeding from the nose and mouth, suffered multiple skull fractures and cranial bleeding, adding “there’s a chance he could die soon,” according to police records.

Vereice D. Washington, 20, of Brooklyn Center, was arrested the morning after Hernandez was attacked in what police are calling a random crime.

Police say Washington had Hernandez’s cellphone.

Washington, who police say goes by the nickname “Lil Low” and is serving probation from an earlier crime, so far has been charged with aggravated robbery and first-degree assault.

Hernandez’s death could mean additional charges will be filed. He remains jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Police say two other men were involved in the attack but have not been arrested.

A police report noted that two suspects were seen by security guards running from the scene.

Other incidents involving the victimizing of intoxicated people have prompted police this summer to caution the public about how to limit their chances of being targeted, including: Avoid walking alone at night, limit alcohol consumption while out, and if you arrive as a group, leave as a group; don’t leave someone behind.

According to the criminal complaint:

Washington told police that he first saw a “very intoxicated” Hernandez close to Augie’s bar on Hennepin near 4th Street, the court document read.

Washington said he asked Hernandez whether he could use his cellphone, and Hernandez said no.

Washington walked with Hernandez for several blocks down Hennepin, then two of Washington’s accomplices showed up. They go by “Big Loc” and “KO.”

The three discussed punching and robbing Hernandez. When they reached 10th Street and Hennepin, “Big Loc” punched Hernandez once in the face, and the victim hit his head on the pavement.

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