MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis police are working to investigate two very similar deaths that happened during illegal street races over the weekend.
Two teens were killed by stray bullets while watching races about an hour apart in two different areas of the city over the weekend.READ MORE: Crowd Damages Minneapolis Police Squad Car As Drivers Do Burnouts, Donuts On Downtown Streets
WCCO spoke with the family of 19-year-old Vanessa Jensen of Litchfield on Monday. Tuesday, WCCO with another grieving family: the sister and mother of 17-year-old Nicholas Enger of Cambridge.
Sitting on her couch, trying to absorb the greatest of losses, Amanda Bolz talked to WCCO about her son.
“He was in a welding class in high school and made some pretty cool things,” Amanda said. “He could have done anything, and that’s what hurts the most is he doesn’t have … that was all stolen from him.”
Nicholas was a young man of many talents.
“He loved to fish, he loved cars, trucks, snowmobiles, anything with a motor. He loved tinkering with them. That was a passion of his,” she said.
Amanda says he recently started coming to Minneapolis to watch street races. He was watching a race Saturday when a stray bullet flew into the car he was sitting in, striking him in the chest.
“They were stopping to watch. He wasn’t down there to cause trouble, or he wasn’t a part of any altercation or anything. He was just wrong place at the wrong time.”
Nicholas died soon after, leaving his mother without her son. She describes her feelings as disbelief and turmoil. And now his little sister Amber, who’s two-years younger, is left without her biggest supporter.
“He was more than a brother, he was my friend. He was a good person, he didn’t deserve this. He’s more than a statistic,” Amber said.
Officers are trying to figure out who fired the shot that took the life of a teen known for his kindness, as they also investigate the death of Vanessa Jensen.
“I want if anybody knows anything, the details of what happened that night to Nicholas or the other girl, to just call someone,” Amanda said.
An aching family is hoping that even though they will never get their beloved boy back, they will one day get answers.
“If you know anything, speak up. Be the voice because he can’t anymore,” Amber said.
This would have been Nicholas’ last week of his junior year. His friends and family will gather Friday and Saturday to remember his life at the First Baptist Church in Cambridge.
Police say it can be tough to break up the illegal races because people throw rocks and bottles at the officers. They’re working the cases, and they want to remind people the races are illegal and a hotbed for crime.MORE NEWS: Brazen ‘Hot Rodders’ Do Burnouts, Donuts Next To Downtown Minneapolis Police Precinct
Anyone with information in either case is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips may be submitted electronically at www.CrimeStoppersMN.org. All tips are anonymous, and persons providing information leading to an arrest and conviction may be eligible for a financial reward.