Homicide victim found on front porch in St. Paul's Payne-Phalen area

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG and PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: March 20, 2012 - 2:00 PM

Family: 'His murder is unconscionable despite his addiction and legal problems.'

A St. Paul man found dead on his front porch on Monday had a troubled past with drugs, guns and law enforcement.

Andrew W. Braun, 38, was found about 1:40 a.m. in the 700 block of E. Lawson Avenue, in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood. Steve La Fontaine visited the scene and identified Braun, a friend, as the victim.

"We should not ignore that Andy was not just a drug addict with legal problems, but he was a deeply loved father, son, nephew, cousin, friend and loved one who once was a little boy from the East Side with a big heart and curious spirit," said a statement his family released Tuesday. "... despite his problems with addiction in recent years, and how they incrementally destroyed his life, Andy began as a hard-working, proud father who exemplified what St. Paul's East Siders are most known for: perseverance."

Police have released few details on the case, declining to discuss how he was killed. Investigators are trying to determine what led to his death, police said in a news release.

There was no information available on suspects, and no updates were expected until later Tuesday, police said.

Police and court records show that Braun's house was considered a problem property and that drug sales and use occurred at the address with "drug pipes and suspected drugs in plain view" inside. The house was condemned by the city in 2010, and notices were visible on the windows on Monday.

A search warrant last November yielded 98 grams of methamphetamine hidden in a bathroom door frame and numerous shotguns and rifles. One of the firearms had been stolen.

Braun was charged with first-degree drug possession and had a court date on the matter last week.

In February 2010, police used a stun gun on Braun when they responded to a call of suspicious activity in the alley behind his home.

According to a police report, Braun came out of his garage and acted nervously. He tried to run back into his garage, but officers ordered him to stop.

Braun reached into his pockets. Fearing for their safety, the officers ordered him to stop. He refused, and the officers drew their guns. During a pat down, Braun pushed off of an officer and tried to flee, according to the police report. He was stunned once and then two more times when he put his hands into his pockets twice instead of behind his back.

Suspected methamphetamine was recovered from his pocket, the report said.

Braun lived at the home with his girlfriend, La Fontaine said, and had two grown children.

"We should not ignore that Andy was murdered," his family's statement read. "His murder is unconscionable despite his addiction and legal problems. Andy was deeply loved and will be sorely missed."

cxiong@startribune.com • 612-270-4708 pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

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