A passing motorist came to the aid of a man who reported being threatened on St. Paul’s East Side.
A month after a St. Paul man was nearly beaten to death outside his East Side apartment, another man was saved from the same fate by a good Samaritan.
After 10 p.m. Saturday, police responded to a robbery report at Sun Ray Transit Center at 364 Pedersen St., according to St. Paul police.
A 26-year-old man had called to say he was standing at the bus stop when he was approached by 10 to 15 men, said police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos.
According to police: One asked the caller, “Why are you watching me?” When the man said he wasn’t, people in the group asked him more questions, such as whether he was with the police or armed.
Somebody in the group then said, “Let’s get this white fool.” The victim is white, and the other men are believed to be black.
As the first man was being threatened, another man, who is black, drove by and noticed the group and honked his horn and flashed his lights, Paulos said. The motorist asked the victim if he was all right, and when he said he wasn’t, the driver offered a ride. They called police.
“The man who stops by, I would have to think, saves the guy’s life,” said Paulos, who added that he was impressed with the good Samaritan.
Three males — ages 20, 18 and 15 — were arrested. Police have presented the case to the Ramsey County attorney’s office for possible charges.
The good Samaritan requested that his name not be in police reports for safety reasons. The victim wasn’t able to be reached on Monday.
On Aug. 4, Ray Widstrand, who was also 26 at the time, was returning to his apartment when he was beaten as he walked through a crowd at Payne and Minnehaha avenues. Widstrand suffered severe, potentially fatal brain swelling and was initially placed in a medically induced coma. He is now recovering.
Four teenagers and one young adult have been charged in Widstrand’s beating, which spurred residents’ concerns about violence and caused the Police Department to dedicate 30 officers solely to target large groups of disorderly youth in the Eastern District.
Some people questioned whether Widstrand, who is white, was attacked because of his race. But the Ramsey County attorney’s office said police hadn’t shown evidence that racial bias was a factor.
Saturday’s incident took place in the Sunray-Battle Creek-Highwood neighborhood. Last month’s beating was in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495 Twitter: @stribnorfleet