St. Paul surpasses disturbing milestone with Minneapolis not far behind

"When will Minnesota leaders make our safety their priority?"

Police secure the scene of the Dec. 2 homicide at 1720 E. Seventh St. on St. Paul's East Side. (St. Paul Police Department/Twitter)

On Thursday, Dec. 2, the city of St. Paul surpassed its all-time homicide record.

That night, 50-year-old Brian Harry Kjellberg allegedly stabbed 27-year-old Arnell Jermel Stewart over a parking dispute. It was the city’s 35th homicide, one more than the previous record of 34 set in 1992 and matched in 2020.

As reported by the Pioneer Press, Stewart died in the hospital due to excessive blood loss after Kjellberg pierced him in the heart with a “sharpened metal pole.” Kjellberg has been charged with second-degree murder.

The incident began when Kjellberg argued with Stewart’s decision to park his vehicle outside Kjellberg’s home on St. Paul’s East Side. According to Kjellberg, Stewart punched him in the face multiple times prior to the stabbing.

“Kjellberg explained to police that he had purchased the property at 1720 E. Seventh St. seven years ago,” the Pioneer Press reports. “Since then, he had been in a battle with neighbors who, he said, continued to park on that property despite his ‘no parking’ signs and despite him calling the police multiple times, according to [a] complaint.”

Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek released a statement in response to St. Paul’s new homicide record.

“In 2020 we saw an all-time murder rate for Minnesota, 2021 will undoubtedly be higher. At what point should we place blame on the politicians who are making decisions that disregard our safety?” he said. “Certain politicians have repeatedly supported ‘Defund the Police’ measures, and policies that undermine law enforcement’s ability to capture dangerous criminals. They have undermined law enforcement and put stress on departments — leaving them understaffed and underfunded.”

“These murders have enormous consequences, including the tragic death of several of Minnesota’s children, and other innocent victims,” he continued. “Liberal elite politicians at the state capitol, including Governor Tim Walz, have ignored pleas from community leaders to protect their families and neighborhoods, and support public safety. When will Minnesota leaders make our safety their priority?”

The city of Minneapolis surpassed its 2020 homicide total of 84 in early November. The city recorded its 86th homicide of 2021 back on Nov. 8.

In that incident, 42-year-old Shannon Michael Benson, described by Crime Watch Minneapolis as a “known psychopathic sexually dangerous predator,” worked with 27-year-old Jade Monet Rissell to lure a female victim to their trailer and beat her unconscious with brass knuckles. A few days later they moved the trailer to a different location and set it ablaze.

The female victim was determined to be seven months pregnant, meaning Benson and Rissell were charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

Minneapolis is on pace to surpass its all-time homicide record of 97 set in 1995. The city could reach 100 homicides by the end of the 2021.