Twin Cities weekend crime incident recap

Inver Grove Heights, Brooklyn Center, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, and more — here's this week's weekend crime recap.

Coon Rapids police officers with recovered merchandise. (Coon Rapids Police Department)

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s office updated the public about law enforcement activity that took place in Vadnais Heights Thursday afternoon. After 3 p.m., a deputy located a stolen vehicle at Greenbrier Street and Sims Avenue in St. Paul. The vehicle fled and a brief pursuit ensued. The pursuit ended when two occupants fled on foot from the vehicle in the 500 block of Witt Court in Vadnais Heights. Deputies, with the assistance of Maplewood Police and the Minnesota State Patrol, responded to the area with ground units, K-9 teams, an unmanned aerial vehicle, and the MSP helicopter.

An adult male and a juvenile male were both apprehended without incident. The juvenile male was arrested shortly after fleeing on foot. The adult male was located after an almost hour-and-a-half K9 track utilizing K9 “Sonny” and K9 “Cross.”

The sheriff said both suspects would be booked, and charges would be presented to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office for fleeing police in a motor vehicle, fleeing police on foot, receiving stolen property, and possession of a BB gun in public, as a Glock-styled BB gun was located in the stolen vehicle.

The sheriff posted thanks and recognition for the assistance of several citizens who called 9-1-1 to report the suspects running through their yards.

Hyundais and Kias are commonly stolen because they can be easily started without keys, the sheriff said. In most cases, suspects break a rear window, enter the vehicle, and drive away. Minneapolis police also put out a notice on Friday warning the public that Kia vehicles are being targeted and stolen across the metro.

A stolen Hyundai Kona with a chipped steering column. (Bob Fletcher)

Police in Burnsville responded to a business robbery at knife point just before 11 p.m. Thursday, according to police dispatch audio. A gas station on the 1800 block of 134th Street East was reportedly robbed at knife point and cash was taken from the register. Police had a search perimeter, including a K9 team and a drone operator, in the area looking for the suspect until about 12:30 a.m. Friday. The suspect was described as wearing a black face mask, black hat, and all black clothing who ran west from the store. A suspect was not located at the time. No public statement was released about the incident.

West St. Paul police reported Friday that their K9 partner “Cecil” helped apprehend an adult male and two juvenile males after they fled from a traffic stop, and then fled on foot after crashing the vehicle around 4 a.m.

A perimeter was set up with the assistance of the Inver Grove Heights Police Department and the Mendota Heights Police Department. K9 Cecil arrived to perform a track through a heavily wooded area, into a residential area. K9 Cecil found the driver and two passengers in a fenced backyard hiding under a covered 4-wheeler.

The vehicle was found to be an unreported stolen and police recovered a handgun in the vehicle. Further information about the arrested parties or potential charges was not provided.

Brooklyn Park police reported Friday that they had arrested a male on suspicion of kidnapping. A press release stated that officers responded about 3:40 p.m. to a report of a domestic assault on the 7500 block of 69th Avenue North. Officers made contact with an adult female victim and learned that she had been taken by force at around 6:00 a.m. the same day while she was arriving to work in the 4600 block of Nathan Lane in the city of Plymouth. The suspect then transported her to his residence.

The victim told police she was held against her will for a number of hours at the suspect’s house before she was able to break free and run to a nearby residence on the same block for help.

Police said they located the male suspect leaving the area in a vehicle which was stopped, and the suspect was taken into custody. A search warrant was executed on the suspect’s residence. Police said the suspect and victim are known to each other.

Hennepin County Jail records show Philip Oliha, 44, was booked into custody on several probable cause charges including kidnapping, first degree assault, false imprisonment, aggravated robbery and threats of violence. As of Monday morning, Oliha had been formally charged with felony counts of harassment, threats of violence and theft. Court records show that an initial bail amount has been set at $40,000, a language interpreter has been requested and that Oliha is scheduled to make his first appearance on the charges on Tuesday.

A delivery driver in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon thwarted an attempted armed carjacking by pulling his own firearm causing the suspects to flee the scene. Crime Watch Minneapolis reported that a carjacking occurred near the Midtown Exchange before 2 p.m. on the 2900 block of Chicago Avenue. Crime Watch later received a dashcam video and the following message from a relative of the victim of the attempted carjacking:

My dad was making a delivery at Allina hospital earlier today and almost got carjacked, the suspects got scared and ran when my dad pulled his gun on them. One of them had a pistol and was tapping his gun on the passenger side window while his friend was trying to force open the door. [I’m] glad I convinced my dad to carry especially with how crazy crime is.

The video, which was pointed straight ahead during the incident, shows a Kia vehicle back up into a spot next to the victim’s vehicle. A pounding sound can be heard with apparent jostling of the victim’s vehicle. Shouting is then heard as the young-looking apparent suspects flee on foot alongside the suspect vehicle. No public statement was released by police about the incident.

Coon Rapids police reported Friday that a traffic stop lead to the discovery of a large amount of shoplifted merchandise. CRPD said that officers Josh Pirkola and Dan Freiberg with their Community Oriented Policing & Problem Solving Unit (COPPS) noticed items that appeared to be new with tags inside a vehicle while assisting on a traffic stop. They were able to quickly determine that the individuals in the vehicle were just involved in a shoplifting in Coon Rapids and returned the property to the store. CRPD did not offer any information on whether any parties were arrested related to the incident.

Minneapolis tallied its 43rd homicide for the year just after midnight Saturday. Police responded to the area of Lowry Avenue North and Lyndale Avenue North on a Shotspotter activation. Upon arrival, police found a male shot in the back behind a residence on the 700 block of 31st Avenue North. Police later updated that a 19-year-old male had died as a result of the gunshot injuries he sustained. No arrests had been made at the time.

University of Minnesota police reported Saturday about 1:30 a.m. that shots had been fired in the area of a large party near 12th Avenue Southeast and Como Avenue Southeast, according to dispatch audio. Officers initially aired that the shots may have been fired from a vehicle and requested the assistance of Minneapolis police to help clear out the party crowd. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests. No public statement was released by either UMPD or MPD on the incident.

Minneapolis police responded Saturday about 2:37 a.m. on a report of a black female firing shots at people at the 19 Bar at 19 West 15th Street, according to dispatch audio. The dispatcher aired that a female in a flowered dress was firing shots and that she had children with her while firing the gun. There were no immediate reports of injuries by the dispatcher. Police arrived and located a possible suspect leaving the area on foot and a brief struggle ensued. Officers aired that the suspect was in custody within five minutes and recovered a gun near 15th and Nicollet Avenue.

A person who claims to have witnessed the police response posted online and described that a woman in a “frilly light white baby doll sun dress” was running down the sidewalk, and police “quickly took her down.”

Hennepin County Jail records show that a 31-year-old female was booked into custody on probable cause charges of first-degree assault, weapons, and controlled substance/narcotics. She had not been formally charged as of noon on Monday. No public statement was released by MPD on this incident.

Minneapolis police responded to a shooting on Saturday about 3:20 a.m. near 8th Street and Lasalle Avenue, according to dispatch audio. Police arrived and indicated that the victim was “losing a tremendous amount of blood.” Police found several spent shell casings at the scene. Further audio indicated that an approximately 25-year-old male was transported to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen, chest and arm. Police described the suspect as a black male, 6 ft, with a twisted afro and wearing a beige military style vest.  The victim’s current condition is not known, and no public statement was released by MPD on this incident.

Minneapolis police and medical responders were dispatched Saturday about 7:44 p.m. to a report of a child who had drowned in a pool on the 2200 block of Pillsbury Avenue, according to dispatch audio. The dispatcher told police that someone on site was attempting to pull a child from the pool. Paramedics arrived and were reported to be attempting resuscitation measures. The child was transported to an area hospital. Details about the child’s condition are not known, and MPD did not released a public statement on the incident.

The University of Minnesota Public Safety Department on Saturday released a safety alert about a suspect wanted in a sexual assault. They reported that the assault had taken place about 7:30 p.m. Saturday along the Mississippi River between the I94 river bridge and East River Flats Park, on the east bank. The suspect was described as a male in his 30s wearing a white shirt with colorful stripes, red pants, and blue and green shoes. The suspect reportedly left the area on a bicycle.

At least four people were shot in Minneapolis Saturday night near the Stone Arch Bridge. At least one victim was shot in the head and has been reported to have been an innocent bystander who was visiting the area. A Minneapolis Park police officer aired to dispatch about 11:07 p.m. that he heard shots coming from the area of the Stone Arch Bridge on the Northeast Minneapolis side of the river. He also stated that he could see people running. Another officer responded with information to the officer that there was a “bunch of hotrodders and a big party” in an apartment complex parking lot nearby.

The dispatcher nearly immediately aired that there was a report of a shooting at the Stone Arch Bridge. Several squads arrived in the area of 6th Avenue Southeast and Main Street Southeast and were told that one victim was transported out in a private vehicle. Police found three more victims on site, including the male in his 30s with a gunshot wound to the head. Several EMS rigs were requested to the scene for the victims.

Police indicated in dispatches that they had located live and spent rifle and pistol caliber rounds and casings, and that the suspect may have been in a white Dodge Charger. A source familiar with the case described the incident to Crime Watch Minneapolis as a “hotrod event turned gang shooting.”

Police later released a statement saying that four victims were known to have been shot; three were found at the scene and one had been privately transported to North Memorial Hospital. Aside from the male in his 30s who had been shot in the head, the other three victims included an 18-year-old female and a 19-year-old male who were transported from the site with apparently non-life-threatening wounds, and a 17-year-old juvenile female also with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds who had arrived at North Memorial.

The MPD statement said that preliminary information indicated that a crowd of people and vehicles were gathered near the intersection when gunfire erupted. MPD stated that the gathering was not a scheduled or official event. No arrests had been made at the time and the incident continues to be investigated.

The male with the gunshot wound to the head has since been publicly identified by friends and family as Tyler King. A GoFundMe page indicated that Tyler had been at the location with others from a bridal party when he was apparently randomly struck in the head with a gunshot. The GoFundMe states that Tyler is in critical condition and suffered a stroke, a brain bleed and swelling. Tyler is married and the father to two young children. A related Caring Bridge page stated that Tyler underwent surgery on Monday to reduce the swelling in his brain.

A compilation of dispatch audio from the initial police response was posted online which captured a chaotic scene with police reporting multiple fights breaking out while they were trying to help victims.

In an unrelated shooting, another Minneapolis gunshot victim showed up at Abbott Hospital just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday, according to dispatch audio. Police later aired that the victim had been shot in the hand and the shooting was related to a 10-round Shotspotter activation in the area of East Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue about 11:10 p.m. No public statement about the shooting was released by MPD. A clip of audio was posted online which purported to be the sound of shots from the incident.

Burnsville police reported that they responded Saturday afternoon to a “shootout” by four kids in the area near Erik’s Bike Shop and Lunds & Byerlys on the 400 to 500 blocks of County Road 42 East. Police were said to have released few details, but a vehicle was eventually stopped containing the suspects and four juveniles were arrested. No injuries were reported at the time, but one vehicle was struck by gunfire. Police continue to investigate the incident.

Brooklyn Park police reported that they responded to a report of shots fired Saturday just after midnight on the 4400 block of 95th Avenue North. Police found a vehicle that had sustained gunshot damage and learned that the victims pulled into the Noble Park N Ride and an unknown suspect started firing multiple times at them striking their vehicle. The victims were not hit by gunfire. Officers located 10 spent shell casings, and suspects were not located at the time.

A pedestrian in Burnsville died after being struck by a vehicle Sunday at Hwy. 13 and Nicollet Avenue. Police and medical responders were dispatched to the location about 1:40 a.m. Upon arrival, an officer aired that the male victim was still breathing but was not conscious and had an obvious broken leg. Police aired a short time later that CPR had begun on the victim. State Patrol was requested to the scene for accident reconstruction. The State Patrol later updated that the crash resulted in the death of the victim, identified as Robert Westly Smith, 31 of Prior Lake. The driver of the vehicle, a 36-year-old man from Oakdale, was not injured. Alcohol was not believed to be a factor on the part of the driver.

Downtown Minneapolis police responded Sunday about 2:35 a.m. to a report of a shooting at 8th Street and Hennepin Avenue, according to dispatch audio. As police arrived at the scene, they were told by the dispatcher that a gunshot victim had arrived at HCMC in a private vehicle. No information about the victim’s injuries was immediately available, and no public statement was released by MPD about the shooting.

Inver Grove Heights police reported that they arrested two juvenile car prowlers early Sunday morning in the area of 75th Street and Conroy Trail East. Police said that “many” vehicles in about an eight-block radius had been gone through, and they urged anyone who had items stolen to contact police and make a report. Police said they also believe some items were placed in hiding spots in the area, and officers located some items while searching the area. Police urged residents to call 911 if they find any items that seem out of place.

Brooklyn Center police reported that they responded Sunday about 9:21 p.m. on a report of a suspect who stole items from a retail store. The suspect was known to have warrants and initially fled from officers. After a brief foot pursuit and taser deployment the suspect was arrested. The suspect sustained some abrasions; however, no one was seriously injured during the interaction, police said.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.


Crime Watch MN

Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.