Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Politics of hatred and blame beget hatred, blame and escalating violence - where's the leadership? busy whining and blaming others?

7 arrested in second Lake Phalen bat assault
Police are still unsure whether attack linked to beating last week




Seven people are under arrest in Monday's baseball bat assault on a couple at St. Paul's Lake Phalen, which occurred about the time of a candlelight vigil for a woman attacked at the lake Friday, police said Tuesday.

Police continue to investigate whether the attacks are connected, said Peter Panos, St. Paul police spokesman.

Six juveniles and one adult were arrested. The three teens arrested at the scene are believed to be in a gang, and the others are thought to have gang ties, Panos said.

Monday's assault occurred about 6:50 p.m. as a married couple, both 18, were walking around Lake Phalen. A group of people had been chasing someone and, as they passed the couple, "they stopped and turned on them," Panos said.

The couple had minor injuries but declined medical attention, Panos said.

They had never seen their attackers before, the male victim said Tuesday. He said he and his wife don't walk around the lake regularly, but they went Monday to get some exercise. He said they were OK after the assault, though they didn't want to talk about what happened.

Three juvenile males — ages 15, 16 and 17 — were caught running from the scene and arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault, Panos said.

A witness described a white van connected with the attack, and police stopped a vehicle matching that description about 10:15 p.m. on Interstate 35E and Pennsylvania Avenue. The four males inside were arrested — two 17-year-olds, a


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16-year-old and a 22-year-old, Richard Lor.
All four were arrested on suspicion of crime committed to benefit a gang. One of the juveniles also was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault.

A gun was found in the van, though it wasn't used in the assault, Panos said. The juveniles were arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a juvenile, and Lor was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm without a permit.

No one was charged Tuesday. Charges could come today, according to the Ramsey County attorney's office.

Monday night's vigil at Lake Phalen, which started at 7 p.m., was for a woman in her 40s who was attacked early Friday as she walked around the lake.

The woman, who asked to be identified only as Tammie, has breast cancer and said she pleaded with the three strangers who came after her with baseball bats: "I have cancer. What are you beating me for?"

Tammie said they tried to smash her head repeatedly with baseball bats, but she held up her hands to protect her head. Her hands and arms took the brunt of the blows — her middle finger was severed, and she has multiple fractures in both hands and a broken wrist. She needed surgery to put pins in her left hand.

Leslie McMurray, executive director of the Payne Phalen District Five Planning Council, said people who live in the area and want to create a neighborhood watch or "peace patrol" can call the council at 651-774-5234.

"Fear festers when there is a sense of isolation," she wrote in an e-mail. "Neighbors who know their neighbors are our best tool for building a safe, strong community."