Twin Cities weekend crime recap

Twin Cities weekend crime recap from Crime Watch Minneapolis.

Crime recap
Suspected DUI crash in Cottage Grove (Cottage Grove Police Dept.)

Bloomington police on Thursday announced the arrest of homicide suspect Aaron Le, 47, of Texas in relation to the lunchtime double shooting on Wednesday at Co Tu Vietnamese restaurant that left one man dead and another injured.

They said Le was arrested in Oklahoma with the assistance of Kansas and Oklahoma law enforcement.

Bloomington police had been called to the restaurant about 1:20 p.m. Wednesday on a report of a shooting. From dispatch audio at the time of the incident, the dispatcher relayed to police that there was a language barrier with the 911 caller but said roughly ten rounds were heard. A suspect was described as wearing a Halloween mask and was also described as a white male with a wrinkled face, wearing purple surgical gloves and a white Covid mask. The suspect was reported to have left in a white transit-type van and was not immediately located in the area.

When police arrived, they stated one victim was shot multiple times and they found a gun on a table. A short time later, another officer aired that another victim had been shot in the leg and buttocks.

Police Chief Booker Hodges provided a video update on the incident prior to Le’s arrest and said that the suspect had tried to enter the restaurant twice while brandishing a firearm, and customers “wrestled” with him and pushed him out. The suspect entered the restaurant a third time and began shooting. Hodges called the shooter a “cold-blooded killer.”

A motive for the shooting has yet to be learned. Le remains in custody in Kay County, Okla., awaiting extradition to Minnesota.

A 49-year-old male who has not yet been publicly identified was killed in the incident, and a 25-year-old server received injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening.


Stillwater police asked for the public’s help on Thursday in identifying a suspect who stole a vehicle with an 18-month-old child inside the day prior.

Stillwater auto theft suspect (Stillwater Police Dept.)

Police said the auto theft occurred Wednesday about 9 a.m. on the 1400 block of Lydia Circle. Approximately five minutes later, the vehicle was found abandoned nearby with the unharmed child inside who was reunited with the parents.

Police said witnesses described the suspect as a “light skinned-dark male wearing a two-toned white hoodie and a medical mask.” No weapons were used in the incident and police said the suspect is not believed to be dangerous.

Anyone with information related to the incident is urged to contact Detective Wulfing at 651-351-4918 or call 9-1-1.


Law enforcement from Roseville and Ramsey County took two people into custody Friday afternoon after a reported attempted carjacking and subsequent pursuit.

According to dispatch audio at the time, police began a pursuit of a stolen vehicle about 3:40 p.m. near County Road B and Hamline Avenue. They aired that an off-duty officer told them that two suspects had tried to pull a woman out of her vehicle at Target.

The suspects bailed out of the vehicle about 3:50 p.m. and a ground search was set up in the area of Arona Street and Ryan Avenue. The suspects were apprehended in the area a few minutes later.

Information on the arrested parties was not immediately available, and no public statement was released by police about the incident.


Two people were injured Friday afternoon and wanted fugitive Ryan Joseph Amabile, 33, was taken into custody by Woodbury police following a pursuit that ended up with the suspect vehicle crashing into another vehicle in St. Paul.

Woodbury police told media in a later statement that the suspect’s vehicle had fled from State Patrol on Thursday night. Woodbury officers attempted to box in the vehicle, but it fled onto I-94. A PIT maneuver was attempted, but the vehicle continued to flee, and the pursuit was terminated.

Ryan Joseph Amabile (MN Dept. of Corrections)

A few blocks later, the suspect vehicle crashed into another vehicle at Minnehaha Avenue. Two people from the other vehicle were hospitalized with injuries but were reported to be in stable condition.

Police said they found methamphetamine and other drugs, as well as a handgun and ammunition in the vehicle and on the suspect’s person.

Amabile was booked into custody on nine probable cause charges and other holds including first-degree narcotics while in possession of a firearm, criminal vehicular operation, and felon in possession of a firearm.

Amabile is a lifelong offender with 27 prior Minnesota convictions, including eleven felonies and is prohibited from possessing firearms. Amabile was just released from prison in October; he had been a wanted fugitive since last Monday, according to the Dept. of Corrections website.


Police in Prior Lake were engaged in an hours-long standoff Friday with a male who was reported to be armed.

The situation unfolded about 1:20 p.m. when police were called to Kwik Trip at 16751 Fish Point Road on a report that man was digging through the business’s dumpster, according to an initial press release from the city.

When Police tried to ID the individual, the man assaulted and attempted to draw a handgun on the officer, they said. The individual then fled on foot and broke into a nearby home. The residents were able to flee the home, and the police standoff ensued. The city asked people to stay away from the area around Blind Lake Road and Windsor Lane while police were engaged in the situation.

Around 10 p.m. Friday, the city posted an update saying that the suspect had been peacefully taken into custody.

In another update late Saturday, the city of Prior Lake identified Sean Michael Rasmussen, 31, as the suspect who had been arrested. They said Rasmussen was currently homeless.

Rasmussen is holding on charges including first-degree burglary, first-degree damage to property, felon in possession of a firearm, fleeing on foot, false information to police, threats of violence, obstruction with force, and reckless discharge of a firearm.

Minnesota court records show Rasmussen has nine prior convictions including three felonies that include domestic assault, felon in possession of a firearm, and auto theft.

Rasmussen pled guilty in Scott County District Court in June to two additional felonies but was out of custody on zero bail to await sentencing on the charges of fleeing in a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, and a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree DWI. Court records show Rasmussen had failed to appear for sentencing at a September 19 hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest in that case. At the time of his arrest on Friday, Rasmussen also had an active felony warrant out of Blue Earth County for a probation violation on a prior conviction. Rasmussen was also charged on Sept. 7 in Dakota County with a felony count of violating a domestic abuse no contact order. Rasmussen had been released from custody on zero bail after making an initial court appearance in that case.

Rasmussen remained in custody on Monday.


A woman was shot and critically injured Friday in Plymouth. The police department reported in a media release that they responded to a shooting at a residence Friday around 7:20 p.m. on the 14300 block of 40th Place North. Police arrived to find the 23-year-old female with an apparent gunshot wound, and she was transported to an area hospital.

Austin Robert LeClaire (Clark County, Wisc., Sheriff’s Office)

The statement said officers identified Austin Robert LeClaire, 26, of Plymouth as a person of interest in the case. With the assistance of the Wisconsin State Patrol, LeClaire was located shortly before 10 p.m. in Clark County, Wisc., and is currently being held in Clark County jail, they said.


Jayson Dean Harp, 49, of Nebraska was arrested Friday by Cottage Grove police following an alleged DUI crash in which police said he was driving the wrong way on Keats Avenue near 70th Street and struck another motorist head-on.

Police said a victim in the other vehicle was 34-weeks pregnant and was transported to the hospital for evaluation with non-life-threatening injuries.

Harp was charged Monday in Washington County District Court with two counts of second-degree DWI and six counts of criminal vehicular operation involving driving under the influence, negligence and bodily harm; all are gross misdemeanors.

Charges say the pregnant female victim was also holding a 2-year-old child in the back seat of the vehicle that was struck. A breath test administered to Harp revealed a BAC of .21 within two hours after he was taken to booking. Harp declined at the time to consult with legal counsel and admitted to the investigating officer that he had been drinking Crown Royal at a relative’s business and consumed three drinks that he stated were “doubles.”

The criminal complaint noted that Harp has a prior 2018 Nebraska DUI conviction. A booking photo of Harp was requested but was not made available in time for this report.


A Bloomington police pursuit of vehicle stolen out of Eden Prairie ended in Richfield Saturday night, according to dispatch audio.

The pursuit of the black BMW began around 6 p.m. for speeding in the area of American Boulevard and 12th Avenue South and headed north into Richfield. Nearly immediately, the officer aired the engine may have been blown and that smoke appeared to be coming from the vehicle.

A PIT maneuver was performed near East 68th Street and 12th Avenue South to try and stop the vehicle which briefly attempted to continue fleeing while the engine was smoking. While officers were attempting to call the driver out of the vehicle, the dispatcher advised the officers that Eden Prairie police had just received a report that the vehicle had been stolen.

Commands were given to the suspect driver to exit the vehicle and he was apparently detained without incident. Dispatch audio indicated that Richfield police assisted during the incident. Information about the arrested party was not immediately available, and no public statement on the incident was released by police.

Around Minnesota

Two people were taken into custody in Watonwan County Sunday related to an auto theft in the city of St. James.

Just after noon Sunday, a deputy assisted an officer from the St. James Police Department after a vehicle associated with the suspects was located. A male party ran from the vehicle, and after a short foot pursuit, the 45-year-old male from South Dakota was taken into custody and was transported to jail, according to a statement posted on the sheriff’s office Facebook page.

A deputy who remained on site with the suspect vehicle and another officer from Madelia then observed a vehicle drive by that matched the vehicle that had been stolen out of St. James.

The Madelia officer followed the vehicle and attempted to pull it over when the vehicle fled, and a pursuit ensued. The suspect vehicle drove into a field and became disabled, and the suspect fled on foot.

Several neighboring law enforcement agencies responded to assist in the search including the Truman Police and Fire Departments, Martin County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol. The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s office also assisted in locating the suspect with the use of their drone. A female suspect was located hiding in dense brush. The female suspect refused to identify herself and was also transported to jail. Information on the arrested parties was not immediately available.


An Ogilvie couple sustained serious injuries early Sunday morning after being attacked in their own home, according to a statement by the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office.

The statement said deputies responded about 4:40 a.m. to the rural Ogilvie home on an assault. Two adult victims were initially transported to an area hospital and were transferred to metro trauma centers in critical condition.

The sheriff said the attack was not random and the suspect, who they said was not from the area, was also airlifted to a metro area trauma center for their injuries. They said no other suspects were being sought.


A public GoFundMe page reportedly started for the couple named the victims as fire fighter Jeff Ponto and his wife Becky, who is an RN at a Mora hospital.

A Caring Bridge site for the couple stated they were attacked in a “home invasion,” but no further details were offered.

The sheriff said the incident continues to be investigated.

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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.