A 54-year-old man with a history of committing crime on campus was found dead underneath a bridge near 28th Street and Emerson Avenue South in Uptown on Friday morning.
Homicide investigators said Michael Targett sustained severe head injuries, and it appears someone attacked him with a blunt object.
A 21-year-old man was arrested in South Minneapolis Saturday in connection with Targett’s death.
Minneapolis police filed a criminal complaint in Hennepin County District Court against John Massicotte on Tuesday and charged him with second-degree murder.
Massicotte has no permanent address.
A few officers said they are familiar with Targett and claim he has frequented the University campus for the past few years.
University Police Officer Erik Swanson said he placed Targett on a no-trespass order from all campus property one week before he was found dead.
Security staff at Fairview-University Medical Center spotted Targett on Wednesday in a hospital cafeteria looking for something to eat. They detained him and University Police ordered Targett to leave the hospital.
“He was a chronic thief and a severe alcoholic,” Swanson said. “It’s sad but not surprising he died the way he did.”
Swanson said he believed Targett could never harm anyone, but was often close to trouble and would do anything to support his alcoholism.
Police said Targett was a transient. “He lived off the land, and he hung around the river,” Swanson said.
Minneapolis Police Officer Robert Patrick Sr., who works primarily in Southeast Minneapolis, said Targett is notorious in Dinkytown.
“He was a local panhandler who had a real alcohol problem,” Patrick said.
Local business owners in Dinkytown complained about Targett, and for the past six months he had primarily spent time in the Stadium Village neighborhood, police said.
Massicotte has a short criminal record, with only one misdemeanor charge in Hennepin County stemming from a park curfew violation in 1995.
Targett’s criminal record in Hennepin County dates back to 1988. His charges include felony and misdemeanor offenses for assault, trespassing on University property, possession of an illegal weapon and loitering with an open container of alcohol.
In other police news:
ù Police are cracking down on bikers who ride along the sidewalks in the business district of Dinkytown.
Patrick said he has charged five people in the past two weeks with the petty misdemeanor offense. The fine is $30 for riding on the walkways.
“Riding bikes on the sidewalks is against the law in the whole state,” Patrick said.
He said business patrons have paid for signs and stenciling on the walkways warning bikers. Patrick has given more than 300 verbal warnings to bikers this summer.
So far, people have paid attention to the warnings and stayed on the streets. Patrick said there have been no reports of bikers running into walkers on the sidewalks.
Last summer, Patrick said half a dozen individuals — many of whom were local business employees — were drilled by bikers passing through on the sidewalks.
ù University Police have no suspects in a suspected arson that occurred Sunday along Washington Avenue Southeast.
An unknown person set fire to a kiosk along the side of a campus bridge, and a passerby alerted authorities.
The Minneapolis Fire Depart-ment extinguished the small blaze.
University Police said it is not uncommon for the kiosks to be targets for arson.