MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twenty-six-year-old Raymond Widstrand was walking on Payne Avenue Sunday evening when he came across a large group of people, who were watching a fight.
Police say it happened Aug. 4, 2013, at about 11:30 p.m. When police arrived, Widstrand was on the ground with his legs and arms spread out. Blood was coming from his nose and mouth.
His pants were off and his shirt torn.
Police questioned several people who were on the scene. One witness told police she had been a party at an address on Preble, near Minnehaha Avenue in St Paul.
She said that some of the girls at the party started fighting outside, and everyone came out to watch.
While this was happening, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County, she saw a young white man walking into the crowd.
The witness said she saw a person, she called “Bay Bay” hit the man in the head, knocking him down.
She also told police that she saw another man begin stomping the man. Another pulled his pants off.
Sgt. Paul Paulos says it’s a senseless crime.
“He is still alive and is day-by-day,” Paulos said.
The witness told police the man was hit and beaten for no reason. She also identified the attackers as being with the “East Side Boys” or “Ham Crazy.”
Issac O’Neal Maiden, 19, is charged in Ramsey County with assault for committing a crime for the benefit of a gang.
Police say as of Aug. 8, the prognosis for recovery is slight. Should he live, he will suffer permanent and protracted loss of brain function.
“Ray” — as his family calls him — is from New Brighton. His family is hanging on to every word they get from doctors.
Ray’s mother, father and sister, Alice, sat side by side in a St. Paul police station to talk about the young man they love.
They say the neighborhood where it all happened is where one of Ray Widstrand’s goals was reached. After scoring a behind-the-scenes job at a cable access station, he finally had his very own place, an apartment on St. Paul’s eastside.
“I guess I didn’t know the neighborhood,” said his father, Peter. “I did kind of question it a little bit. He never expressed any concerns.”
Investigators say as he took a walk down his new streets he happened upon two gangs fighting each other. They then started beating him.
“I can’t imagine why someone would do this to another person,” his father said.
Alice added: “It’s hard to see anyone in your family in that condition, but seeing your older brother. There’s really no words to describe that feeling.”
The county attorney called it a senseless attack — one that left an apartment sitting empty and a family sitting in a police station.
The Widstrands said doctors haven’t given much hope of a full recovery. But the family has hope. They say he has a lot of swelling in his brain and that over the next week, they should know much more.
St. Paul Police say they are really hoping someone will come forward with some video of the fight to help them with the investigation. If you have a tip you can call police at 651-266-5650.