MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities man is accused of murder after investigators say he punched a man Saturday outside the entrance of a downtown St. Paul bar, pushing him down a flight of stairs and causing him to crack his skull on the concrete below.
Ryan John Whisler, 43, of St. Paul, is charged with one count of second-degree murder, court documents filed in Ramsey County show. If convicted, Whisler faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. His first court appearance was slated for Tuesday morning.READ MORE: Clean Car Debate At Minnesota Capitol May Lead To Summer Closures Of State Parks, Trails
According to a criminal complaint, Whisler punched the man shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday outside of Herbie’s On The Park, near the Xcel Energy Center. Responding officers found the victim lying at the bottom of the steps in a pool of blood, gasping for breath.
Paramedics brought the victim to Regions Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a severe brain injury. He died the next day after being taken off life support. Bloomington Public Schools identified the victim as Mike Ryan, the girls varsity hockey coach at Jefferson High School. The district noted that Ryan was married and the father of two girls. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support Ryan’s young family.READ MORE: Marietta's Salt Lake Is A Paradise For Birds And Bird Watchers
Witnesses told investigators that Whisler and Ryan got into an argument after an episode in the bar’s bathroom. Whisler allegedly punched a hole in one of the urinals covered to promote social distancing and recorded himself peeing at the covered urinal. Ryan saw this and admonished Whisler as he was leaving the bar.
An argument flared up between the two men, but seemed to die down once they both stepped outside. On the platform, however, Whisler pulled Ryan’s mask off his face and grabbed his shirt, a witness told investigators. Surveillance video recorded the struggle, showing Ryan grab hold of the railing and pull himself away.
The situation seemed to settle for a moment with other bar-goers coming between them, but Whisler hurled a punch at Ryan’s head, knocking him off a flight of nine steps, the surveillance footage shows. Whisler then fled the scene, along with another man who was with him.MORE NEWS: COVID In MN: Gov. Walz To Announce On Thursday His Timeline To End All Restrictions
The following day, Whistler turned himself in, investigators say. Whisler was then booked Sunday into the Ramsey County Jail.