A 23-year-old Minneapolis man who ran at a 40-year-old Bloomington man with a rock was surprised to learn his would-be victim was an off-duty Minneapolis police officer.

The off-duty police officer’s pursuit of his would-be attacker near the Bloomington Hyatt Regency hotel punctuated an already memorable walk through Bloomington’s South Loop District.

The off-duty police officer, a 40-year-old Bloomington man, and his 37-year-old wife were walking at approximately noon Aug. 30. They were walking north on 33rd Avenue when they noticed two people in the bushes on the east side of the street, near a stairway accessing a parking structure. It appeared a man was performing oral sex upon another man, according to Bloomington Police Cmdr. Kevin Herman.

The couple continued walking, and when they heard what sounded like someone running, the woman looked back and saw the 23-year-old Minneapolis man running at them, with a large rock in his hand. Her husband, carrying a firearm, pulled his gun.

The suspect stopped, dropped the rock when ordered to do so and began to flee the area. The off-duty officer, concerned that the suspect may threaten or harm another pedestrian, chased him as his wife called the police, Herman explained.

The suspect ran to the entry of the Hyatt Regency, 3200 E. 81st St., and attempted to enter the building. But the interior set of entrance doors was locked, trapping the man in the entryway. The off-duty officer ordered the man to lie down on the ground and stood watch until a Bloomington police officer arrived, Herman said.

Following his arrest, the suspect made a variety of claims regarding his activities prior to the arrest. He claimed he had been at Mall of America with a friend and was waiting for his friend at the transit station. While waiting he saw a man he knew from Minneapolis, and struck up a conversation about trading money and drugs for sex, although he claimed that is something he does not do, according to Herman.

While near the parking structure, the suspect said he thought he heard a comment as the couple walked by, prompting him to run at them with a rock. He also made claims that he was assaulted by the man he was with in the bushes, Herman noted.

Officers searching the area following the suspect’s arrest found a man, lying on the grass near Reflections Condominiums, 8161 33rd Ave., who was determined to have been with the suspect prior to his arrest. The man was unable to answer questions from officers as he did not speak English and appeared to be intoxicated. He was placed under a transport hold at the scene, according to Herman.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault.

Easy arrest

A 45-year-old La Crosse, Wisconsin, man was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle after he asked Mall of America security to help him find the missing vehicle.

Police officers were dispatched to the mall at approximately 9:30 p.m. Aug. 31 after the suspect asked a mall security officer to help him locate the vehicle. What the suspect did not know was that the red Saturn, which had been reported stolen in Hopkins, was identified by a mall license plate scanner as the vehicle entered a parking ramp earlier in the day.

Police officers responding to the initial report of the stolen vehicle’s presence found it parked and unoccupied. It was in poor condition and contained three duffel bags of personal items, including paperwork. The unlocked vehicle was impounded, as the police department was unable to set up surveillance on the vehicle when it was initially located, Herman explained.

When a police officer arrived to assist, the suspect gave a false name and claimed he was dropped off by the vehicle’s owner, who he was unable to contact because his cellphone battery had died. It became obvious during the conversation that the man had driven the vehicle to the mall, and a name check failed to substantiate the suspect’s identity. At that point he was arrested on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, and upon a search of the suspect, a Saturn key was located, Herman said.

At that point the suspect gave his name, and a records check showed he had an outstanding Scott County warrant. He was also found to be in possession of metal knuckles and a counterfeit $20 bill, according to Herman.

When asked if he had any other contraband on him, he said he did not. Upon his arrival at the police station, however, he acknowledged having drugs in his sock, and suspected methamphetamine was recovered, Herman noted.

Short chase

A 24-year-old Anoka man may have been relieved that his effort to outrun Burnsville police officers was successful, but Bloomington police officers ready to pick up the chase ended the man’s night.

A police officer began following the suspect’s vehicle as it drove northbound on Interstate 35W at approximately 2:30 a.m. Aug. 27. The suspect, driving a stolen vehicle, had been chased in Burnsville, but Burnsville police officers terminated the pursuit by the time the suspect reached Bloomington, according to Herman.

Bloomington officers were aware of the pursuit, however, and an officer parked on the freeway’s northbound on-ramp at 106th Street spotted what appeared to be the stolen 2002 Dodge Caravan. The vehicle was speeding, but the officer caught up to it at 94th Street and was able to verify that its plate matched that of the stolen vehicle.

The officer waited as other officers joined the pursuit. The suspect exited at 82nd Street, drove through the red light at the top of the exit ramp and headed west. The officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, and it appeared that the driver was not going to pull over, Herman said.

An officer performed a PIT maneuver – or pursuit intervention technique – near Knox Avenue, spinning the vehicle around into the eastbound curb, where officers were able to block the vehicle and arrest the suspect, who was booked on suspicion of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle and an outstanding warrant, Herman noted.

Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.

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