Reporting Bill Hudson
FRIDLEY, Minn. (WCCO) – In broad daylight, and within full view of a busy stretch of East River Road, a group of seven young men struck two joggers totally at random.
The joggers were out for a Sunday run near East River Road and 37th Avenue North when each one was suddenly and viciously punched by the group.
Lt. Mike Monsrud, of Fridley Police, says attacks like these are rare.
The victims said their attackers demanded no money and said few words before striking. The attacks, according to Monsrud, appear to be unprovoked.
The first attack occurred around 3:25 p.m. Sunday afternoon, followed by the second incident in the same general area about 20 minutes later. Police said one man suffered a bloody nose in the attack and the other has a sore throat.
“Without talking to them (the attackers), we have no idea what motivated them. It does not appear to be robbery or any other means to a greater crime,” Monsrud added.
The jogging trail follows along the Mississippi River and connects to the nearby Anoka County Riverfront Park. That’s where Carlos Rodriguez comes to get in some exercise and play with his kids.
But to Rodriguez, the safety of the park and its trails is now in question.
“It’s surprising, because there are a lot of people here…and there’s never a quiet moment in this area,” Rodriguez said. “You see the cars going in and out of here all the time.”
Police say this is the first incident of this nature that’s been reported along the jogging path. Authorities said the suspects are described as a group of six to seven Somali men that were traveling together — one wearing a hooded sweatshirt and another who was wearing a balaclava around his neck.
“It’s a very rare thing, a very concerning thing, to us,” Monsrud said. “That’s why we’re doing what we can to try and get these people identified.”
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Fridley Police.