Staff Directory 19363479

Abby Simons

Team Leader | Public Safety
Phone: 651-925-5043
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Abby Simons is the Star Tribune’s Public Safety Editor. Her team covers crime and courts across the metro. She joined the Star Tribune in 2008 and previously reported on crime, courts and politics.

Simons is a 2004 graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, where she studied journalism. Before joining the Star Tribune, she was a reporter for the Des Moines Register. Simons lives in Minneapolis, but will always root for the Kansas City Royals. She enjoys hanging out with her dog Bianca, riding her bike and trivia night at her local pub.
Recent content from Abby Simons
Homicide claimed 31 people in St. Paul in 2019, the highest number since the record of 34 slayings set in the mid-1990s.

The names and faces of St. Paul's deadly year

Homicide claimed 31 people in St. Paul in 2019, the highest number since the record of 34 slayings set in the mid-1990s. The majority of the victims were young men of color who lost their lives to gun violence.
Eugene "Geno" Smith

St. Paul police officer cleared in fatal shooting during drug raid

Evidence shows Eugene "Geno" Smith fired a shotgun at the task force officer.
Minnesota builders no longer have to install sprinkler systems in large new homes, after they won their legal battle against the year-old fire safety

Minnesota builders win a court battle against home sprinkler mandate

Year-old rule mandated installation in houses larger than 4,500 square feet.
Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, of Eagan

Lawyer says ISIL defendant had no ability to build anti-aircraft rockets

Abdirizak Warsame never had the ability to build anti-aircraft rockets, his attorney says.
Supreme Court Justice Christopher Dietzen led the discussion of changes to drug sentencing guidelines at the commission meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Minn. Sentencing Guidelines Commission signs off on drug sentencing reform

Proponents say changes create statewide standard and promote treatment.
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Christopher Dietzen listened to testimony during Wednesday’s public hearing on drug sentencing.

Plan to redo drug sentencing draws an emotional response

Sentencing Guidelines Commission hears from both sides on proposal to reduce prison time for low-level offenders.

Mpls. man accused of Twitter threats to FBI agents remains jailed

Abdulkadir's attorney argues that no one was specifically threatened.
Saado Ali Warsame

Son of slain Somali political activist sues money-transfer business

Case alleges that big money-transfer firm helped fund the killers.
Mike Rothman warned that Bitcoin is unregulated, and investors can be harmed without bank backing.

Minnesota commerce commissioner: Bitcoin buyers, beware

 Six years after its introduction to the masses, Bitcoin, the decentralized currency known as “cash for the Internet,” is growing in popularity. Yet it still…
Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan

Ex-Minneapolis student 'Mujahid Miski' denies ties to Islamic State

Former Roosevelt student Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, arrested in Somalia last month, vows he won't return to the U.S.
Hy Berman

Hy Berman, longtime U professor, political commentator, dies at 90

Teaching history at the U or speaking on issues of the day, Hy Berman was "always engaged."
On a recent Missouri deer hunt, Star Tribune reporter Abby Simons, center, and the doe she shot were flanked by Simons’ friend Phil Replogle, left,

A doe is taken but 'my big buck is still out there'

A novice's second deer hunting season brings on big expectations and a drive for more.
Employees of Estes Funeral Chapel raised their fists to show support for Jamar Clark's family in front of the Fourth Precinct police station November

Mankato officer led Mpls. police to protest shooting suspect

The new information, detailed in a search warrant application, came as officials got an extension until Monday to file charges in the case.
A scene from the YouTube video.

Social media offering picture of men who went to protest 'locked and loaded'

Days after a YouTube video went public, four men were arrested in connection with Monday night's shooting of five protesters.
At the 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis, protesters continued to demand answers over the death of Jamar Clark who was shot and killed by police .

Governor: Ambulance video of shooting is inconclusive

Minneapolis NAACP chief says remarks reinforce need for public to see footage from shooting.
Roger Lee Olsen served two years in Stillwater prison for a rape he didn’t commit.

For those wrongly convicted, Minnesota to make good

State is the 30th to pass a law compensating freed inmates for time served, plus damages.
The work of Timberjay Newspaper’s Marshall Helmberger sparked the creation of the Timberjay bill.

Timberjay bill fails to define 'government function,' creates gray area

  When Gov. Mark Dayton signed what is now known as the “Timberjay bill” last year, open-government advocates cheered, lauding the legislation that in essence…
Somali community leaders Imam Hassan Jamaica Mohamud and Sadik Warfa spoke to the media about the case 9/02/2015

Trial for alleged ISIL recruits pushed to May

Lawyers given more time in wake of new charges.
Former Gov. Jesse Ventura spoke after Tuesday’s hearing in St. Paul, saying, “I was the booster rocket in this book.”

Ventura says he was 'booster rocket' propelling sales of 'American Sniper'

Ventura says he is prepared to fight the case again if retrial is ordered.
In 2011, Jason Lewis warmed up the crowd at Michele Bachmann's "Welcome Home" event at the Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo, Iowa.

'Mr. Right' Jason Lewis hopes to take his libertarian streak to Washington

Former radio show host Jason Lewis said a slow recession recovery motivated him to run for Second Congressional District seat.
Firearms instructor Rob Doar demonstrated the proper technique for holding a handgun.

Permit-to-carry class offers real-life firearms education

  Gunshots thundered around me as my instructor, Rob Doar, loaded a clip into 9-millimeter Glock 19 and handed it to me. It was lighter…
Ashlee Hutchinson, 23, shot a handgun at a Robbinsdale range. Another mass shooting reignited debate on gun laws.

Tragedy in Oregon spurs fresh gun law debate in Minnesota

In the wake of the latest mass shooting, gun rights supporters remained steadfast that 2nd Amendment should be inviolate, while gun control supporters say they are more motivated than ever.
In this Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 photo, travelers wait in long security lines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, in Seattle.

REAL ID worries for Minnesota driver's licenses about to get real

Come January, Minnesota driver's license might not suffice at the airport.
Coal is seen stockpiled at the Sherco Generating Station in Becker, Minn., in this 2012 photo.

EPA mandates likely mean changes at Sherco coal plant

Republicans say jobs will be lost; DFLers say it's part of the state's clean-energy revolution.
Ayan Abdurahman right, waited for a ride after attending a hearing for her son Zacharia Abdurahman one of seven defendants charged with conspiring to

Third man in Twin Cities ISIL case pleads guilty

Columbia Heights man names co-conspirators, explains ISIL's appeal to Westernized youth.
Hanad Musse, 19.

'I committed a terrorist act,' Twin Cities ISIL suspect admits

Hanad Musse, one of seven defendants charged with conspiring to leave the United States to fight alongside terrorists in Syria, pleaded guilty in federal court in Minneapolis Wednesday.
Jaylani Hussein, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was among those criticizing a new government-initiated program to fight terrorist recru

Education, mentoring key in anti-terror recruiting project

The program still received pushback from some Islamic organizations.
Hanad Musse, 19, will appear in federal court on Wednesday.

Defendant in Minneapolis ISIL terror case to plead guilty

Plea negotiations are also underway for at least two other defendants, and agreements could be reached within the next week to 10 days, according to multiple sources.
The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association announced that Tony Chesak is the new executive director.

New chief of liquor association plans to take new course

  Tony Chesak’s first phone call of the day Thursday was crucial for one of the ­thousands proprietors he represents: Is it legal to take…

Federal judge orders specifics in alleged Twitter death threats

An indictment filed in April against Mahamed Abukar Said, 19, of Minneapolis alleged he threatened authorities, including the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis and the FBI, with a "massacre."
Somali leaders Imam Hassan Mohamud, left, and Sadik Warfa said they were disappointed a judge didn’t allow supervised release of the seven conspirac

Minnesota judge again denies bail in ISIL case; trial set for Feb. 16

Defense attorneys were visibly frustrated by judge's ruling in the case of seven young Somali-American men charged with conspiring to support the terror group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Hawo Mohamed Hassan, left, and Amina Farah Ali entering the federal courthouse during their 2011 trial.

Federal appeals court upholds women's prison sentences in terror case

The appeals court said the evidence warrants the sentences for supporting al-Shabab.

Plot by 7 from Twin Cities to join ISIL was long in making

Fearing their arrests were imminent, seven Somali-American men tried to get out of the country last spring to fight alongside terrorists in Syria before FBI agents could catch up to them, according to new evidence released Friday by federal prosecutors.

Lawyers for Minnesota terror suspects argue ISIL not terrorist organization

Attorneys for 7 suspects in FBI case are also seeking lighter security at trial, saying it could influence jury.
Clockwise, Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19, Guled Omar, 20, Zacharia Yusuf Adurahman, 19, and Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 19. They are four of six Minnesota men of

Informant in Twin Cities terrorism case paid $41K by FBI

Defense attorneys say payments undermine the informant's credibility.
A Muslim cleric walks toward the courthouse for a pretrial hearing for three local men accused of conspiring to leave the country to support or join I

Accused ISIL recruits from Twin Cities denied release by federal judge

U.S. district judge to weigh options for "deradicalization" before release
Halima Yusuf, a friend of terror suspect Hanad Mustafe Musse’s family, wept for the young men outside the U.S. Courthouse in St. Paul.

Government: Alleged ISIL conspirator says deradicalization 'hopeless'

Both sides file documents in fight over release of three of the suspects.
Mohamed Ali Omar

Man convicted of threatening FBI agents now faces new gun charges

Charges in the October incident follow Mohamed Ali Omar's release from federal custody
After seven months in detention, Mohamed Ali Omar, right, was greeted by family members outside the federal courthouse Tuesday.

Minneapolis man who threatened FBI released prior to sentencing

Convicted of threatening FBI agents, Mohamed Ali Omar must wear monitor bracelet until sentencing.
Rosemary Dosch talked about how she sued jeweler Dan Rohricht in 2008 for allegedly selling her gold Rolex after she took it in for repairs. in her ho

Did jeweler loot his own store?

Daniel Rohricht was accused of stealing from his bankrupt business. He admits he is not "lily-white," but he said he is no "mini-Denny' Hecker."
Ayan Farah walked away from the Federal Courthouse with family and friends Thursday in Minneapolis.

Judge denies bail for Minnesota man charged in terrorism conspiracy

"This stuff is fake," said the mother of two men charged in a terrorism conspiracy before a hearing Thursday for her oldest son.
After spending seven months in federal detention, Mohamed Ali Omar, 21, walked outside the federal courthouse a free man with an interpreter. left, an

Minneapolis man who threatened FBI released prior to sentencing

Mohamed Omar, whose brother is among several Twin Cities men being held on terrorism-related charges, has been in federal detention seven months.
Debate of the Omnibus Environment bill on the House floor on the last official day of session. Crews will be on standby to start removing desks tonigh

With divided Legislature, what was -- and wasn't -- accomplished in 2015

A big surplus had some thinking this session would be smooth, but the extra money fueled extra debates.
Seleman Abdullahi held a T-shirt supporting the men, including his cousin Abdirahman Daud, who have been arrested on conspiracy charges. He was at a n

Attorney for ISIL suspect: Feds waving 'bloody flag of terrorism'

After federal court hearing, judge ordered the Minneapolis man to remain in custody.

Five suspected terrorist recruits plead not guilty in Minneapolis court

The men are accused of planning to join ISIL.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt could be seen in the negotiating room in the governor's residence during budget talks Friday.

Gov. Dayton takes issue with Minnesota legislators' budget deal

Minnesota House and Senate leaders said late Friday that they had struck a tentative budget deal, but the governor was objecting to the level of education funding and said he intends to stand firm.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said of a possible shutdown: “I would certainly rather that it not happen.”

With clock ticking at Capitol, budget talks continued into night

With little apparent progress and time running out, Dayton and lawmakers trade accusations
St. Paul fire fighters Chris Parsons, President of Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters, and Pete Gutzmann monitor a couch fire set at a training faci

Minnesota ban on fire retardants would be toughest in nation

Limits on flame-retardant treatments would be most restrictive in nation.
Columbia Heights police officer Terry Nightingale made sure to turn on his body cam in April.

Minnesota Senate passes police body-cam rules

House counterparts say it could derail bill to curb license-plate readers.
For Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, the “Right to Try” legislation was very personal

For Rep. Nick Zerwas, 'Right to Try' legislation is from the heart

  It’s a story state Rep. Nick Zerwas has shared plenty of times before — it defines who he is today. But on Friday, it…
St. Paul fire fighters lit a couch on fire at a training facility Thursday to demonstrate how flame retardants harm firefighters by releasing dangerou

Minnesota firefighters seek action on stalled flame retardant bill

House leaders have been reluctant to act on the effort by Minnesota firefighters to ban flame retardant chemicals they blame for higher cancer rates,
A dozen supporters from Neighborhoods Organizing for Change rallied on the Capitol steps Wednesday to renew their push to restore voting rights for fe

March 26: Move to restore felon voting rights appears stalled

The bipartisan group had high hopes that this year's outcome would be different.
“I sincerely apologize. I recognize my comments last night offended some people. I will work in the future to not repeat this mistake.” Rep. Jim N

House member apologizes for 'convenient' rail line linking prisons, north Minneapolis

"I recognize my comments last night offended some people," Republican Rep. Jim Newberger said. "I will work in the future to not repeat this mistake."
Alyce Penn, beer tender at Tin Whiskers Brewing Company, St. Paul, served beer to a customer a few blocks from the State Capitol where the State Senat

Another no to Sunday liquor sales, but it's looking good for growlers

The Minnesota Senate rejected a Sunday sales measure, but proponents remain optimistic.
Majority Leader Tom Bakk

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader says Sunday liquor sales are a long shot

Senate leader says biggest hurdle is in the House.
State Sen. Foung Hawj, DFL-St. Paul, is sponsoring a $100,000 appropriation to pay for mental health services for Hmong and Lao veterans.

Help in state budget for Hmong, Lao vets decades after Vietnam

Tucked in the Minnesota Senate's Health and Human Services Omnibus bill is an appropriation to fund mental health services specifically for hundreds of Minnesota Hmong and Lao veterans born before 1965.

On Sunday liquor sales, Daudt sees glass half full

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said move to reverse sales ban has a better chance than in past years.
Aamira Redd, left, and her mother listened to Gov. Mark Dayton, who has acted as a mentor to the high school teen.

Teen guest describes special bond with Dayton

To the hundreds who filled the House chamber for Thursday's State of the State address, Gov. Mark Dayton is, whether adversary or ally, a man…

State may bolster number of child protection workers, with a catch

Some of the money is dependent on quick and frequent visits by caseworkers.
Uber, insurance companies strike a deal; legislation heads to floor

Uber, insurance companies strike a deal; legislation heads to floor

A fight over driver insurance requirements had Uber threatening to leave the state.
State budget officials announced in February that Minnesota's projected budget surplus grew to $1.9 billion, up $832 million from a previous projectio

Poll: Minnesotans are split over what to do with budget surplus

Minnesotans are nearly as divided as lawmakers are on what to do with the state's projected $1.9 billion budget surplus. Nearly 40 percent prefer refunds; 30 percent say "salt it away."
Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights (left) wants Minnesota to spend $5.5 million to establish three 16-bed “jail diversion hubs” for mentally

Proposal for mental health sites opposed by some advocates

Senator's plan for 'jail diversion hubs' gets pushback from advocates.
A driver uses the Uber app, near the car service app’s headquarters in New York.

Proposed insurance requirements for ridesharing has Uber reconsidering future in Minnesota

Uber manager says $1 million policy requirement would affect strategy in state.
Linda Griffiths talked about the future with her husband Jim as her ALS progresses rapidly while her treatment is limited to antidepressants and medic

'Right to Try Act' gives hope to dying patients

If approved by Legislature, Minnesotans could get easier access to experimental drugs, devices still under clinical trials.
Data boy! St. Paul Rep. John Lesch succeeded in his grammar mission.

A legislative victory for a grammar stickler

  Tension punctuated a House hearing last week over how long law enforcement agencies can keep on file data gleaned from automated license plate readers…
Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, is a Cottage Grove police officer and regularly wears his service weapon to the Capitol.

Minnesota House panel backs legalizing firearm 'silencers'

Advocates say the devices, now banned in the state, protect shooters' hearing. Foes say they aid criminals.
Supporters and those who do not support the Model Gender Identity Participation in the MSHSL activities policy attended a meeting of the Minnesota Sta

Republicans propose overturning transgender student-athlete policy

A coalition of House and Senate Republicans want to ban transgender students from participating in girls' sports and would require student athletes to use the bathrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms appropriate to their birth gender.
Dave Watson and Bruce Meagher are members of the Fugitive Apprehension Unit, and here handcuffed fugitive Alex Cortez Benson in West St. Paul.

More Minnesota Level 3 sex offenders are breaking probation

Apprehension unit can't begin to keep up with its list of parole violators
Christopher Hunt, 32, of Minneapolis, shopped for beer at Surdyk's in northeast Minneapolis.

Minnesota lawmakers take broad first look at 2015 liquor reform

A wide swath of measures did not include a repeal of the ban on Sunday sales.
Christopher Hunt, 32, of Minneapolis, shopped for beer at Surdyk's in northeast Minneapolis.

Minn. lawmakers talk booze, but not Sun. sales ban

A wide swath of proposals by lawmakers did not include a repeal of Sunday sales ban.

'Private divorce' measure would take splits out of Minnesota courtrooms

Skeptics say the legislation is probably unconstitutional.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Feb. 26: Dayton signs compromise bill on pay raise flap

Bill sends nearly $16 million in emergency funding to three agencies.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton giving the keynote address at the State of Minnesota Veterans Day Event in 2012.

Dayton appointed to Governors Council, will advise on National Guard issues

  Gov. Mark Dayton was named Friday to a national forum of governors that will advise federal defense agencies on National Guard issues. The appointment…
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said prosecutors have a twofold interest in changing the law regarding felons and voting rights.

Senate committee approves bill to restore voting rights to freed felons

Bill clears state Senate Judiciary Committee, with newfound support from Republican lawmakers and right-leaning groups.
Broad coalition pushes for Minnesota data privacy amendment

Broad coalition pushes for Minnesota data privacy amendment

Broad coalition pushes state amendment for greater data protection, but Senate obstacles arise.