Police are looking for the perpetrator who assaulted and severely injured a 65-year-old man behind a Lakeville Walmart following a road rage incident last week, leaving him hospitalized with a broken leg.
The violent encounter occurred about 2 p.m. on Oct. 27, police said in a Facebook posting that includes blurry surveillance images from the front of the store and a description of the suspect and his vehicle.
Mark K. Henderson of Burnsville remains in Regions Hospital on Wednesday, where he continues to be treated for a broken thigh bone and cuts and bruises to his face and elsewhere, his wife said.
"It was just stupid and uncalled for," Henderson's wife, Sharon, told the Star Tribune. "He kept telling the guy, 'You know, we're not going to fight.' "
But the other driver "was just so irate," she said, before describing the attack in detail based on her husband's account.
"I can maybe be forgiving," Sharon Henderson said. "But he left my husband there. … He had to crawl to his phone 15 feet so he could call me at work."
The police detective on the case, Scott Frame, declined Wednesday to provide any specifics about the encounter, other than calling the attack a "road rage assault" and saying "it does concern us that the injuries were that severe."
Frame said he was relieved there was no indication that either man had a weapon. "Bringing in weapons, it doesn't improve things," he said.
The two men first encountered each other on Interstate 35, where Henderson turned on his car's blinker while exiting and the other driver followed him into the Walmart parking lot, Sharon Henderson said.
Mark Henderson, his mother-in-law and the other driver were outside the store's entrance, where the suspect "was cussing and saying things. My husband was trying to calm the situation explaining, 'Hey, I was using my blinker,' " she said. "He doesn't believe he did anything wrong on the freeway."
Mark Henderson sent his mother-in-law inside to find help from store personnel while he dealt with the driver, who soon started walking around to the back of the store as their verbal back-and-forth continued.
"By the time he was there, he thought, 'Oh, I'm further around from the door than I thought,' " Sharon Henderson said.
Her husband asked the man why he kept walking, and he replied, " 'I want to go where there are no cameras,' " Sharon Henderson said.
That's when the suspect hit Henderson, threw him to the ground and twisted his right leg so violently that it broke his femur.
Doctors put a rod in the leg, and "he's not doing well as far as pain management," his wife said.
Sharon Henderson said her husband is retired from the Air Force and has worked as a sheriff's deputy in north-central North Dakota and with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and on the southern and northern U.S. borders.
"He's dealt with a lot of different things over the years," she said. "My husband is very traumatized by this."
Frame said that "we have not at this point" received any possible leads toward finding the suspect, whom they describe as being white, in his late 40s to 50s, 6 feet 1 to 6 feet 3 inches tall, with short, sandy-colored hair peppered with gray. He was wearing a green jacket with writing on the left chest at the time.
His vehicle was described as a 2015 to 2018 gray Jeep Grand Cherokee, possibly the Limited or Overland style. Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact Frame at 952-985-2800.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482