MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twenty-four-year-old Sarah Wierstad was just getting home on Oct. 18 when she came across her burglarized St. Paul apartment. She was shot dead that night, after pursuing the man running off with her purse and cell phone.

He fired four shots from a 9 mm pistol, striking the single mom in the heart and leg. She died despite the lifesaving efforts of witnesses, leaving her 5-year-old daughter without a mother.

“It appears they were just random victims,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

He held a news conference on Tuesday to announce charges against four people accused in a string of violent crimes in the Twin Cities that same night. He said those same killers used stolen vehicles to carry out a 3-hour trail of terror.

“We don’t often see people kill for no reason, that’s one of the things that makes this uglier and more disturbing,” Freeman said.

After killing Wierstad, the four defendants — 25-year-old Alvin Bell Jr., 26-year-old Isiah Harper, 42-year-old Michelle Koester, and 31-year-old Albert McIntosh — moved on to Minneapolis.

That’s where they are now charged with robbing a man at gunpoint before killing a 42-year-old man in a south Minneapolis alley.

Even then the crime spree wasn’t over. The four used their victim’s credit cards at two south Minneapolis gas stations.

Around 11:00 p.m., they are suspected of forcing a husband and wife and their four young children onto the floor as they ransacked the home for cash, credit cards and a small safe.

“They had little kids on the floor, and one of the little kids had the courage to look up and to identify one of the individuals,” Freeman said.

The four are in custody and charged with a variety of counts, including second-degree murder, aggravated robbery and burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Bill Hudson

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