A 25-year-old St. Paul man was arrested Friday in the fatal stabbing of another man found in the 400 block of Grand Avenue earlier that morning.
A relative and authorities identified the victim as Gerald J. Montantes, 28, of St. Paul.
“Gerald was a great person — had a big smile every time I seen him,” said his cousin, Hondo Montantes-Fleming. “He loved his kids a lot and mother a lot.”
The cause of death has not been released, pending an autopsy by the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office.
Authorities released few details about the events that led up to the stabbing, citing the ongoing investigation, but police spokesman Steve Linders said, “It does not appear to be random.”
Police were called to the three-story apartment building in the Ramsey Hill neighborhood shortly before 2 a.m. Friday.
“The victim was found in the vicinity of the apartment to which officers were called,” Linders said. “It’s too early for us to say what the victim was doing at this particular apartment and who may have stabbed him.”
St. Paul fire medics arrived and took Montantes to Regions Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Court records show that the suspect in Montantes’ killing lived in the building where the crime apparently occurred. Police records show that Montantes was listed as the “complainant” for a police call to the address on Sept. 9 during which the suspect was arrested on a warrant, issued in June, for failing to appear at a hearing in a drunken driving case.
Court records show the suspect failed to show up for a probation violation hearing in his drunken driving case on Tuesday, prompting the issuance of another arrest warrant. The Star Tribune generally does not name suspects who have not been charged.
The suspect in Montantes’ killing was previously arrested at the same building on June 6 after a dispute between roommates. The police report does not specify who else was involved in the incident, and it’s unclear whether Montantes lived at the address.
Police have been called to the building and the unit involved in Friday’s stabbing “numerous” times in the past two months for warrant arrests and disorderly conduct, Linders said.
Police records show that authorities have been called to the building 27 times so far this year. Police were called to the unit where the suspect apparently lived at least nine times this year, including on Tuesday for “family/children-mental/vulnerable adult.” Several calls were coded as “disturbance-fights;” one was for an assault and one in early September was for theft.
Montantes-Fleming said he did not know the suspect nor Montantes’ connection to him and wanted to remember his cousin, who was also known as “Jay,” as a fun-loving guy who liked to shoot pool and jokingly “talk trash.”
“Gerald was talented too; he would do tattoos for the free time, too,” Montantes-Fleming said. “He was a talented person with a big mind.”
Montantes’ death is St. Paul’s 13th homicide this year. Nine of the previous 12 homicides have been cleared with arrests.