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'The world has lost the best it had': St. Paul widow mourns husband as alleged killer goes to court

A Roseville man has been charged with murder in the death

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A man, woman and three children pose for a photograph.
Javier Sanmiguel poses for a photograph with his family. 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

A Roseville man appeared in court Wednesday on murder charges in connection with a fatal shooting on St. Paul's east side.

Lionel Keejuan Eaton, 27, is charged with second- and third-degree murder in the death of Javier Sanmiguel, 31, the father of four young children.  

Prosecutors say Eaton crashed his SUV into the back of a woman's sedan, causing her to hit several unoccupied vehicles near Case Avenue and Edgerton Street. 

More 9 hours, 3 shootings, 3 dead in St. Paul

Witnesses say Sanmiguel and several others came out to help. When they looked in the back of Eaton's vehicle and tried to open the hatch, Eaton allegedly fired a handgun from inside. 

Eaton's mother arrived at the scene and told officers that her son had been acting erratically and she was concerned he was having a mental health crisis, according to court documents. 

Eaton allegedly told police he was rammed by another car and feared for his life.

Sanmiquel’s widow Kayla described her husband as “The very, very best man. The best husband. The best father. The world has lost the best it had.” A gofundme page has been set up for his family. 

A screenshot of a website page.
A fundraiser has been established for the Sanmiguel family. Javier Sanmiguel was fatally shot Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, while he was helping after a multi-vehicle crash on the street in front of his house in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood of St. Paul.
Via GoFundMe

Sanmiguel’s shooting was one of three in the city within a 9-hour period.

Eaton's next court appearance is Oct. 4. Eaton’s most serious prior conviction in Minnesota was on a gross misdemeanor charge of possessing a pistol without a permit.

MPR News’ Elizabeth Shockman contributed reporting.