The owner of the Portland Market in south Minneapolis was put into a medically induced coma, needed five plates put in his face and could lose an eye after a burglar severely beat him with a hammer at his store on New Year’s Eve.
The victim, 53-year-old George Gerges and his wife, Saydee, have owned the market at 3751 Portland Av. S. for about eight years and never before had a problem until New Year’s Eve, she said in an interview Thursday. She faults in part a slow response from Minneapolis police, who did not arrive to the business until 38 minutes after the security alarm went off.
“If [police] had showed up when they were supposed to show up, this wouldn’t have happened,” Saydee Gerges said. Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Andrew Marquis Hodge, 25, of Minneapolis, stands charged in Hennepin County District Court with felony first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and first-degree aggravated robbery in connection with the attack. He remains jailed in lieu of $350,000 bail and was scheduled to make his first appearance Thursday.
She said her husband took five blows to the head with a hammer, suffered numerous fractures and a displaced jaw. Though he’s no longer in a coma, he is still in the hospital and will take at least six weeks before he learns if he will be able to see out of his eye. “It’s awful,” she said. “But thank God he’s alive.”
According to charges, police arrived to the blood-spattered entryway at 6:47 a.m. as Hodge stood over a bloodied, semiconscious Gerges, who was begging for his life. Hodge ran but was caught after a short chase. In his path police found the sledgehammer, Gerges’ keys, cocaine and cigarettes.
In an interview at the hospital, Gerges told police his security company notified him at 6:09 a.m. of a “glass break” alarm at the business. He asked the company to call police, then went to the business himself, arriving at 6:45 a.m. The parking lot lights were off and the front door was broken. When he walked inside he saw Hodge standing in the entryway. Hodge then approached Gerges and began beating him with the sledgehammer, saying “Buddy, open the safe — I just need the money.” Gerges realized the police arrived when he heard them say “Freeze!” and Hodge fled.
Electrical wires to the business had been cut, and surveillance video showed Hodge near the electrical box.