Weekend yielded uptick in serious crime near campus

There have been at least six serious crimes reported in Marcy-Holmes in November alone.

by James Nord

A handful of crimes in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood over the weekend culminated in two instances where residents, at least one a University of Minnesota student, were shot multiple times with a pellet gun.

ItâÄôs unclear if the crimes, ranging from burglary to assault, are related. They correlate with an increasing number of violent robberies and thefts in the neighborhood. November alone saw at least six robberies, burglaries, thefts or attempts at bodily harm.

Four theft- or burglary-related crimes were reported over the weekend, according to police reports. The last occurred at 3:15 a.m. on Saturday. A University student was shot in the cheek and both arms with a pellet gun after a man broke into his room at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity on 10th Street Southeast.

The man, who didnâÄôt know management student Jonathan Rodengen was in his room, broke in through a window and started rifling around, eventually grabbing valuables, including a laptop. Rodengen woke up when he heard the man in the room.

When the suspect saw he wasnâÄôt alone, he jumped out the window and began to run. Rodengen jumped out head first after him and eventually caught the man in the parking lot with a backpack of stolen valuables.

âÄúI grabbed the back of the backpack, ripped him down to the ground, ripped the backpack off him, and at that point, when I ripped it off him, he immediately pulled a gun,âÄù Rodengen said.

âÄúAt that point I thought it was a real gun and my life was over.âÄù

The man shot Rodengen in the cheek and in the arms before dropping the pellet gun and running toward Dinkytown. He eventually made his way over the I-35W pedestrian bridge.

Wearing only his boxers and bleeding from multiple wounds, Rodengen chased the man for more than six blocks. He yelled for help along the way.

Rodengen lost the suspect, who was wearing a gray hoodie and black sweatpants, when he approached two girls in a car and asked them to call the police.

âÄúThey were freaking out because it was just me in my boxers, and I was covered in blood,âÄù he said.

Minneapolis police examined RodengenâÄôs room at the fraternity and took the gun from the parking lot. He was treated at Hennepin County Medical Center, where glass was removed from his feet âÄî the pellets were left lodged in his flesh.

When Rodengen returned home at about 9 a.m. Saturday morning, he said the suspect was back outside the fraternity. He and a friend ran outside, but the man was gone before they could reach him.

In the other BB gun shooting, a group of men walked into a party on the 1000 block of seventh Street Southeast. Three of them got into an altercation with a 23-year-old at the party on their way out a short time after.

One of the men showed the victim a gun and subsequently shot him through the shoulder and in the thigh. The suspects made off with a laptop and two smart phones.

There was limited suspect information for the early Saturday morning attack, according to a police report.

Amanda Erickson, who hosted the party, said the pellet-gun shooting has changed her routine.

âÄúWeâÄôre definitely not going to have parties for a while because that scared the [expletive] out of us,âÄù she said. âÄúWeâÄôre scared to be there by ourselves.âÄù

The first serious robbery of the weekend occurred at about 10:30 p.m. Friday. Three men pushed a University student to the ground on Seventh Street Southeast between 13th and 14th avenues southeast and aimed an apparent handgun at the victimâÄôs head. The robbers made off with several valuables.

The three suspects were described as black males between 17 and 21 years old and more than 5 feet 7 inches tall. The man holding the gun had short hair and was said to be wearing a black jacket and dark clothing.

Four similarly dressed suspects stole a purse from a small party at an apartment on Eighth Avenue Southeast at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

Minneapolis police did not return requests for comment as of print time, so itâÄôs unclear if they think the events are related.

Rodengen said police followed up with him on Tuesday about a potentially related incident in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. HeâÄôll likely view a lineup after Thanksgiving. 

Attempted Suicide

University police are investigating a Friday suicide attempt in Yudof Hall because the victim, a student, used something that wasnâÄôt âÄúreadily availableâÄù to the public.

In suicide attempt cases where the method is obvious and available, like a rope or knife, thereâÄôs little need to investigate further, said University police Lt. Erik Swanson. This case was different, but Swanson didnâÄôt expand on the method used.

The 20-year-old man called University police either during or after the attempt at about 10 p.m. Friday. HeâÄôs doing fine now, and was still at HCMC  as of Monday when University police checked on him, Swanson said.

Swanson said since January 2008, University police have received 147 calls for crisis situations, a small number of which included attempted suicides. Generally, the calls are for people who are extremely distressed or contemplating suicide. Protocol is to bring them to a hospital for a 72-hour âÄúhealth and welfareâÄù hold, usually at HCMC.

One half of one percent of University Twin CitiesâÄô students asked in a 2010 Boynton Health Service survey said they had attempted suicide in the past year.

BoyntonâÄôs Mental Health Clinic gets busier this time of year, said Dave Golden, director of public health and marketing.

He said the rush ends right when finals are over, but that finals arenâÄôt the only source of increased stress. âÄúI donâÄôt know if itâÄôs because things are presenting more, or theyâÄôre more difficult to manage,âÄù he said, adding that accumulating assignments could be a factor.

Students can generally get appointments with mental health staff within two weeks, and in crisis situations they can call a crisis line at any time.