COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — Monday morning for Lisa Patterson and her family went from typical to terrifying and unforgettable when she went to see why there was a loud sound at her front door.
“I didn’t even get to the corner and I immediately saw that it was this person, and he was coming towards me with the gun drawn on me,” she said.
Patterson had no idea this armed stranger is who, police say, hours earlier abducted a woman at gunpoint in a Maplewood parking lot, forced her to drive to her home in St. Paul, and sexually assaulted her.
After using the victim’s car to get away, then carjacking another vehicle, the man ended up in Patterson’s quiet neighborhood, and then her home on Hidden Valley Court.
Patterson, in her bathrobe, had just been working in her living room. Her husband was awake upstairs and two of her daughters, ages 18 and 22, were still upstairs asleep when the man entered the home. She said he kept asking if there were guns in the house, to which she replied “no.”
“I said, ‘I’m really afraid for my children upstairs and he said ‘It’s okay. I’m a dad, too.’ And he said, ‘It’s okay… I really think I’m gonna die here today,'” Patterson said. “I think I trusted him in that moment that he wasn’t going to hurt me.”
Patterson was calm as she retold the story, and said she was just as calm during the short time the man was in the home.
“That moment when the gun’s in your face, a million things run through your mind,” she said. “The only thing that came to me was just, I said, ‘What can I do to help you?’”
Patterson said her husband was eventually allowed to come downstairs. As officers surrounded the home, she said the man promised not to hurt them and needed a place to think. Patterson and her husband suggested their garage.
“[The gunman] went right to the garage and as soon as my husband heard that door shut, [my husband] ran back upstairs, told the girls, ‘There’s a gunman in the house. Let’s go right now.’ The three of them just immediately went right down the stairs and all four of us went out the front door,” said Patterson, who added that was the moment she was most scared, fearing the man would hear them escaping and come out of the garage.
Once in the safety of a neighbor’s home, Patterson was unaware of what happened next.
Police said the man stole the Patterson’s truck out of the garage, drove through yards, and eventually crashed. He was shot and died during an encounter with police. Patterson learned of his death later, as well as the alleged sexual assault.
“I was just that much more thankful that we were really lucky that nothing worse happened,” she said.
The Minnesota BCA has taken over the investigation.