Twin Cities weekend crime recap

Weekend crime recap from Crime Watch Minneapolis.

Minneapolis police respond to a homicide in Uptown Sunday night (Submitted to Crime Watch)

A homeless predatory offender was charged Thursday in connection to a Minneapolis stabbing aboard a Metro Transit bus that occurred last Tuesday afternoon.

Jarelle Thomas Vaughn, 41, whose address on court documents is listed as a Salvation Army homeless shelter in the North Loop, has been charged with two felony counts of second-degree assault.

Minneapolis homeless man charged with stabbing
Jarelle Thomas Vaughn (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

Transit and Minneapolis police responded about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday to the intersection of East Franklin Avenue and Chicago Avenue on a report of a stabbing victim aboard a bus, according to dispatch audio.

The victim told police that the suspect had boarded the bus and stood by the door. The victim said the suspect was talking to himself and he believed the suspect was under the influence of narcotics. The victim said the suspect took out a knife and tried to stab him in the chest, leaving a superficial wound. The victim tried to get up from his seat to get away from the suspect when the suspect stabbed the victim in the abdomen and also struck the female passenger with the knife. Several witness statements to police corroborated the victims’ statements.

The charging document states that the victim was treated at the hospital for multiple stab wounds including wounds to his abdomen which required surgery and stitches.

Prosecutors requested a “high bail” due to the unprovoked nature of the assaults and the public safety risk involved.

Court records show that Vaughn is a predatory offender with six prior convictions, four of them felonies that include second-degree criminal sexual conduct, financial card fraud, theft, and third-degree assault. Vaughn also has a gross misdemeanor conviction on predatory offender intentionally provides false information.

Vaughn remained in custody Monday on $100,000 bail and was scheduled to make his first court appearance at 1:30 p.m.

Jay Tyrell Whiteford, 40, of Minneapolis was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in federal prison for producing sexually explicit videos of minors.

Jay Tyrell Whiteford (Sherburne County Jail)

The announcement by U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger said in March 2020 Whiteford used his cell phone and Snapchat account to communicate with at least two minors. In his communications, Whiteford used an alias and told the minors he was 16 years old. Whiteford induced the minors to create and send to him sexually explicit videos and images.

Court records show Whiteford should have been in state prison at the time of the offense on another child porn conviction, but he had received a plea agreement in the case leaving him free and out of custody on probation. Whiteford was convicted in Hennepin County Court in December 2018 on a felony count of possessing pornographic work involving minors. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison. However, Judge Regina Chu stayed Whiteford’s prison sentence and placed him on 30 days of electronic home monitoring and probation for a term of three years. The plea agreement in the case indicated that there may have been further cases that the state would not charge as part of the plea agreement. Whiteford was offered the plea agreement and stayed sentencing in Hennepin County Court despite the fact that he was required to register as predatory offender in Minnesota at the time due to a 2007 Indiana conviction on possessing child porn.

Federal inmates are required to serve at least 85% of their sentence incarcerated, unlike Minnesota state sentencing which only requires offenders to serve two-thirds. Whiteford’s prison sentence will be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.

Chaska police reported Friday morning that one of their squad cars had been struck by a drunk driver overnight.

An officer was conducting a traffic stop just before 1 a.m. Friday when the squad was struck, according to dispatch audio at the time. The officer was outside the squad, which had its emergency lights activated, when it was struck by a vehicle unrelated to the traffic stop, the Chaska police Facebook post said. The officer was between his squad and the vehicle he had stopped when the sideswipe crash occurred. The statement said they were grateful no one was injured in the crash and that the incident “could have ended a lot differently.”

Chaska police said the driver was arrested on a DWI-related offense.

A large law enforcement presence was observed in Brooklyn Center on Friday afternoon with an area taped off near the 5600 block of Dupont Avenue North after a reported stabbing that had occurred shortly after 2 p.m., according to dispatch audio.

A spokesperson from the Brooklyn Center Police Department responded to an email inquiry for information and confirmed that officers were called to an address on the 5600 block of Dupont Avenue North for a report of a stabbing and the police presence ensued.

Officers located at the residence an adult male victim with non-life-threatening stab wounds to his torso, and he was transported to North Memorial Hospital via ambulance. Prior to the transport, the victim identified the suspect as one of his family members. Police believed the suspect to still be inside the residence and officers attempted to make contact with the suspect by phone and through the squad PA system. Brooklyn Center detectives also obtained a search warrant for the address. Police were eventually able to make contact with the suspect, and he was taken into custody at Pappy’s Restaurant in Brooklyn Center and was then transported to the Hennepin County Jail.

Court records show Christopher James Thompson, 43, was charged on Monday with two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Charges say Thompson is the victim’s father and the knife attack had followed an argument involving the two. Other children were also present in the home at the time of the attack but were uninjured. The victim suffered a four-inch slash wound to his shoulder, a large gash to his elbow, and a stab wound to his neck.

Court records show Thompson, who is known by several aliases, has a lengthy conviction record including several violent crimes and should have been in prison at the time of the attack.

Thompson was convicted in Oct. 2020 on a charge of first-degree arson of a dwelling and was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison. However, the prison sentence was stayed in a dispositional downward departure from sentencing guidelines by Ramsey County Judge Nicole J. Starr. Thompson was instead credited with time already served in jail and was placed on probation for a term of 10 years. The departure was granted despite Thompson’s lengthy history of violent and other crimes.

Thompson remained in custody at Hennepin County Jail awaiting his first court appearance scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. A current booking photo of Thompson was not immediately available.

Rosemount police reported on Friday that a recent pursuit of a stolen vehicle led to a crash into a tree and the subsequent arrest of two people.

Methamphetamine discovered during an arrest (Rosemount Police Dept.)

Incident to arrest, officers seized a large amount of suspected meth and a stolen handgun with an extended magazine. No info on arrested parties; they say charges pending.

A Maple Grove man was charged Friday with attempted murder for an Oct. 10 home invasion domestic shooting that occurred in Minneapolis.

Tylynne Lashawn Wilson (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

Charges say Tylynne Lashawn Wilson, 40, broke into his ex-girlfriend’s house just after 10 a.m. on the 2900 block of Oliver Avenue North and shot her 12 times while their one-year-old child stood nearby. Dispatch audio at the time captured a responding officer saying that a domestic shooting had occurred at the same location a week prior.

Wilson has been charged with first-degree premeditated attempted murder and second-degree attempted murder in the case. At the time of the charges, the victim had been extubated and was reported to be in stable condition, according to the complaint. Wilson is also charged with shooting his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend near the same location on Oct. 3 around 9 a.m. while children waited nearby for the school bus. Wilson is charged in that case with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety.

Charges say prosecutors in the attempted murder case intend to seek aggravated sentencing due to the “particular cruelty” displayed during the crime and the fact that it was perpetrated in the presence of a child.

Court records show Wilson, who is known by several aliases, has a history of at least five felony convictions, most for violent crimes, as well as several other convictions.

Wilson remained in custody as of Monday on $2M bail and a first hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Over 30 pounds of methamphetamine was seized from a home in Shakopee last week, and Saul Rodriguez Pineda, 38, is facing several felony charges in connection to the bust.

Saul Rodriguez Pineda (Scott County Jail)

According to a statement posted on the Blue Earth County website, agents with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force (MRVDTF) executed a search warrant at a residence in Shakopee last Wednesday. During execution of the warrant, agents located and seized 31.5 pounds of methamphetamine.

The MRVDTF investigation began several weeks ago after agents executed a search warrant in Blue Earth County and seized approximately one quarter pound of methamphetamine. Agents discovered the methamphetamine was coming from a residence in Shakopee and that several pounds had made its way to the Blue Earth County area. Agents made controlled purchases of meth from the residence in Shakopee and were granted a search warrant based on the evidence gathered.

The residence is located in a subdivision made up of large, wooded lots. Agents discovered the methamphetamine buried in water coolers in the wooded area near the house. The meth was packaged in one-pound bags. Agents searched a garden shed on the property and located evidence of a liquid methamphetamine conversion lab. Methamphetamine is often smuggled over the border in liquid form and must be converted to crystal before it is packaged and sold, the statement said. Evidence of the lab included a cooking stove, large pots, and large strainers, which all had residue that field tested positive for methamphetamine.

Three males were arrested during the warrant. At the time of the statement, the males had not yet been positively identified and were believed to be from Mexico and in the U.S. illegally.

Pineda has been charged with four counts of first-degree sale of a controlled substance and one count of third-degree possession of over 10 grams of a controlled substance. Pineda made an initial court appearance on Friday where he requested an interpreter and was also granted a public defender. Pineda remained in custody on Monday on $5M bail.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Friday released the identity of an Oct. 3 Minneapolis shooting homicide as Deljuan Dennis Pendleton, 23, of Atlanta, GA.

Police later released a video clip and stated they are seeking information on the identity of the suspects who dumped the body of the victim from a previously carjacked vehicle into an alley on the 2600 block of Fremont Avenue North just after 3 p.m. that day.

The carjacked vehicle used in the incident was later found in south Minneapolis after having been set on fire.

Police in downtown Minneapolis responded to several assaults and disturbances early Saturday morning around bar close. At least three assaults were reported outside the Gay 90s Minneapolis bar on the 400 block of Hennepin Avenue, according to dispatch audio.

In the first, reported just after 12:30 a.m., a male victim was transported to the hospital with a reported arterial bleed to his head after being pistol whipped.

Another assault was reported just after 2:30 a.m. with a victim “down” outside the bar. As police tended to the victim while waiting for EMS to arrive, they requested more squads for back up due to a large crowd forming around them. Information about that victim’s injuries was not immediately available.

Another assault outside the Gay 90s was captured on video just before 3 a.m. by independent photojournalist Rebecca Brannon.

The video shows a man on the ground being brutally assaulted and kicked in the face by several other males. Dispatch audio at the time indicated that the assault was observed by a police camera operator who aired at 2:48 a.m. that there was a “fight or assault” in front of the Gay 90s. An officer who was apparently nearby on site radioed back nearly immediately that the fight was over.

Dispatch audio did not indicate that EMS was dispatched to the location for the victim. However, further audio indicated that an assault victim had shown up at HCMC after 3 a.m. and reported that he was assaulted by five guys outside of the Gay 90s. Confirmation on whether it was the same victim from the video was not able to be confirmed in time for this report.

Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis reportedly went into a Code Yellow lockdown Saturday before 8 p.m. following a report that occupants of a vehicle had pointed a gun at visitors and staff in the parking lots. The hospital is located on the 2500 block of Chicago Avenue South.

A copy of a notice reportedly sent to staff was later posted online which described the suspects as Native American or Hispanic males in their 20s in a silver Dodge Ram. Dispatch audio at the time confirmed the report and the suspect description. Several minutes later there was a report of shots heard near 27th and Cedar Avenue, according to further dispatch audio. When police arrived in that area about 8:07 p.m. to investigate, they reportedly found the Dodge on the 2400 block of Ogema Place and said they found casings inside the vehicle.

Further information on whether suspects were identified or located was not immediately available, and no public statement was issued by police about either incident.

Police in downtown Minneapolis reported about 1:40 a.m. Sunday that they heard the sound of shots near 5th Avenue North and Washington Avenue North in the North Loop area, according to dispatch audio.

Arriving officers aired that they were chasing a male armed with a gun. They quickly updated that they had the suspect at gunpoint and that the suspect was shot in the back. A chaotic scene was indicated over dispatch audio as EMS was requested. Two people were reportedly taken into custody at the time.

Police later told media that two guns were recovered from the scene and that one of the suspects had pointed a gun toward officers. One suspect was reportedly booked into jail on probable cause assault.

Minneapolis marked its 71st homicide Sunday night following a shooting in Uptown (top photo). An off-duty officer working in the area aired to dispatch about 11:46 p.m. that he heard the sound of shots near Fremont Avenue South and Lagoon Avenue, according to dispatch audio. No victim was immediately located. Six minutes later, at 11:52 p.m., the same off-duty officer aired again that he heard more shots and quickly updated that someone had been shot and called for more squads. A victim was found inside the back of Fire House Uptown (formerly The Fremont). The officer aired that the victim had been shot in the neck and that CPR was in progress.

MPD released a statement overnight saying the adult male had died from his injuries and that no suspects were in custody.

Around Minnesota

Isaac Lee Birdinground, Jr., 38 of Garryowen, Mont., is in custody in Stearns County Jail after authorities say he led Avon police on a pursuit while driving a semi-tractor and trailer stolen out of Fridley Thursday.

Isaac Lee Birdinground (Stearns County Jail)

According to a statement released by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, at approximately 12:19 p.m. Thursday, law enforcement received information about a stolen white semi-tractor pulling a 44-foot flatbed trailer with a blue Moffit forklift on the back of the trailer, and the owner was reportedly following the stolen vehicle.

The Avon Police Department, along with other area agencies, located the vehicle on I94 near County Road 2 and ultimately attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The driver of the semi-tractor and trailer did not comply with officers attempting to conduct the traffic stop and continued driving on I94 westbound without stopping.

Officers engaged in a pursuit of the vehicle and deployed stop sticks, the statement said. Just prior to reaching the New Munich, Minn., exit the front tire of the semi blew apart and the driver lost control going into the ditch. Officers conducted a felony traffic stop on the vehicle, and the driver and only occupant was taken into custody without incident. No weapons were used by the agency or the suspect, and no injuries were sustained to the officers or the suspect. No other vehicles were involved.

Birdinground has been charged with felony counts of fleeing police and theft of a motor vehicle, as well as two misdemeanor counts involving DWI. Birdinground made is first court appearance on Friday, and court records show Birdinground has retained a private attorney. He remained in custody on $30,000 bail as of Monday.

Two young adults were killed Saturday in Pine County and two others were injured in a single vehicle crash just before 2 a.m. at Pokegama Lake Road and Fairway Road in Pine City.

A statement released by the Pine County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the crash and found that the vehicle had been occupied by four young adults. A 20-year-old female and an 18-year-old male were determined to be deceased at the scene, an 18-year-old male was airlifted to North Memorial and a 19-year-old female was treated at the scene. The names of the decedents were not immediately released.

The Wabasha County Sheriff’s Office requested the public’s help in providing information about a vehicle and driver that left the scene of a crash where a young child was struck Saturday afternoon. The child was injured but will be fine, the sheriff said. The sheriff said the driver stopped but left after seeing the girl did not sustain life threatening injuries.

The driver of the vehicle is described as an approximately 60-year-old female with shoulder length dark hair and a heavy build, driving a silver SUV, possibly a Chevy Blazer. Anyone with information is asked to call 651-565-3361.

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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.


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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.