Suspects sought in student’s death

by Andrew Donohue

Minneapolis Police homicide detectives continue the pursuit of two suspects in connection with the death of a University student who was fatally injured Aug. 23 at Grandma’s Saloon and Deli at 1810 Washington Ave. S.
Using witness accounts and a grainy surveillance video tape, police pieced together physical descriptions of two men whom they believe are responsible for the death of Nicholas Schultz, a fourth-year English major who was close to graduation.
Schultz sustained head injuries that eventually led to his death after a punch to the face from one of the suspects sent him sprawling down a staircase to the ceramic floor of the West Bank bar.
Lt. Dan Grout said the coroner’s office ruled Schultz’s death a homicide. Now the county attorney must determine whether to charge the suspects with homicide or manslaughter if they’re found.
Schultz met up with friends sometime after 11 p.m. the night of Aug. 22 after finishing his bartending shift at the West Bank bar Blondie’s on the Avenue.
A friend of Schultz’s allegedly bumped into a stranger at Grandma’s Saloon, causing tension between the two parties. Schultz’s friend reportedly told Schultz of the confrontation.
Around 12:30 a.m. Schultz and his girlfriend were preparing to leave when two men met them at the top of the staircase leading out of the bar.
Seconds later, witnesses said, one man punched Schultz in the nose, sending him down the staircase, where his head hit the ceramic floor.
The two suspects then fled the scene. Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the two men.
The suspects are described as in their early 20s; both wore untucked, light-colored polo shirts. One suspect was described as white or Hispanic, 6 feet tall and stocky, with black hair and a moustache. The other was described as white, 5 feet 9 inches tall and of slight build.
Steve McClurg, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major, said he heard a very loud “snap” and then saw bouncers gather around. He said a pool of blood spread quickly around Schultz’s head as bouncers scrambled to empty the bar.
Stunned patrons gathered outside where police collected accounts of the fracas. McClurg said police and paramedics arrived, though their lack of urgency surprised him.
McClurg said he and his friends were sure Schultz was dead already from the amount of blood that he had lost.
Witnesses said Schultz teetered in and out of consciousness, eventually slipping into a coma after an ambulance rushed him to the Hennepin County Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition for 11 days. After tests revealed no brain activity, Schultz’s family chose to remove him from life support systems. He died Sept. 2.
Schultz was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, and friends remember him as very outgoing. He was known around his fraternity house as a huge sports fan.
“Nick was super friendly,” said Chris Schwiderski, a junior in economics and management and Schultz’s fraternity brother. “He was a guy who loved his friends and would always greet you with a big hug and a nice ‘hello.'”
Schwiderski said an astounding amount of support has come from the other fraternities and sororities on campus, as well as from University administration.
Blondie, owner of Blondie’s on the Avenue, said she had never seen someone with as many friends as Schultz.
“Everyone was always coming in to see Nick,” she said.

— Staff Reporter Scott M. Larson contributed to this report.