Crime, Law and Justice

Good Samaritan shot to death in St. Paul was father of four young children

He was responding to a multi-vehicle crash outside his home

A man, woman and three children pose for a photograph.
Javier Sanmiguel was fatally shot Tuesday while helping after a multi-vehicle crash on the street in front of his house in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood of St. Paul.
Via GoFundMe

Neighbors say the good Samaritan who was shot to death in St. Paul Monday evening was the father of four young children.

Maya, who didn’t want her last name published, lived next door to Javier Sanmiguel in the city’s Payne-Phalen neighborhood. She said Sanmiguel, 31, who worked as an interpreter, rushed outside to help after a multi-vehicle crash on the street in front of his house. Then, she says, one of the drivers opened fire and killed Sanmiguel.

A woman wearing scrubs stands in the front yard of a house.
Maya, who didn't want her last name published, talks Tuesday about her neighbor, Javier Sanmiguel.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

"Javier was a man of faith. He was a family man of four children, young, all seven and under of age. He and Kayla had a beautiful marriage. They were great people,” said Maya.

Maya said this is the second fatal shooting in her neighborhood in the last 4 years.

She said she was sitting on the couch after dinner when she heard a vehicle crash. She’s a medical assistant who knows CPR, and also rushed outside to try to help. She saw numerous vehicles involved in the crash and ran back inside to get her husband to help. They met Sanmiguel outside his vehicle, which was also damaged.

Maya said the three of them went to check on whether anyone was injured. She said the driver of one of the vehicles was crouched in the hatch of his car, and when they went to open the hatch, the man opened fire.

She said police were on the scene within 5 minutes of the shooting.

"Something has got to turn around. And the mayor can not cut the police force right now in St. Paul. We beg him not to do that. We need more police, not less with crimes like this committed. It's not gonna stop,” said Maya.

A car is parked along the street in a neighborhood.
The sight of the shooting at Case Avenue East and Edgerton Street North. Police were called for a multi-vehicle crash. While en route, police received reports that shots were fired. When they arrived, they found a man who had been trying to help the two drivers in the crash, suffering from gunshot wounds.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

She said Sanmiguel had been going to town meetings to try to improve their neighborhood.

"Javier was a man who believed in God, had true faith. He wanted to change the neighborhood's direction,” said Maya. “A very caring guy. Would have given the shirt off his back to people. Very family man. So it's a huge loss right now."

Police say Sanmiguel was pronounced dead at the scene, close to the intersection of Edgerton Street and Case Avenue.

They say they've arrested an adult male suspect in the shooting.