Police ask for help finding a suspect in three random stabbings in March

A man points to a large printed image held by a woman
Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder and public information officer Cyndi Barrington show surveillance video images of a suspect is a series of stabbings on March 17 in south Minneapolis, one of them fatal.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

Police think three random stabbing incidents in south Minneapolis in mid-March are connected. 

They include a woman stabbed to death at a bus shelter the morning of March 17, a man stabbed on on Park Avenue a few minutes later a short distance away, and another man stabbed and seriously injured at a Lake Street bus shelter minutes after that.  

“The Minneapolis Police Department, in conjunction with the Metro Transit Police, have determined that the individual — the suspect — is the same person in all three of these cases.” said spokesperson John Elder. 

Elder said that the evidence includes surveillance video, showing the suspect in the area at the time, including several images of his face, shot from a distance. He said there's no indication that the victims or their assailant knew each other. Investigators didn't offer much else, and declined to offer any details into a weapon or the injuries the victims suffered. 

A collection of three surveillance images released by police.
Minneapolis police released these surveillance images of a suspect in three stabbings March 17, one of which killed a 78-year-old woman. Authorities are asking for help from the public in identifying the suspect and are offering a reward for information on the case through Crimestoppers
Courtesy of Minneapolis Police Department

The most serious assault killed Marie Elena Mantini, 78, of Minneapolis. A report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner indicated she’d been stabbed in the chest near Franklin and Chicago Avenues about 9:30 a.m.

Police said another victim, a 76-year-old man, was standing outside at 2215 Park Ave. when an assailant walked up to him, struck up a conversation, then attacked him with a knife. 

The second victim has not been publicly identified. 

About 15 minutes later, a 28-year-old man was stabbed in a bus shelter at 12th Avenue and Lake Street. He was also seriously injured. 

“The clothing is consistent, the crime pattern is consistent and the geography is consistent,” Elder said. “The suspect is described as a Black male, age unidentified. He’s possibly between five foot seven and five foot nine with black hair. And at the time of the crimes, he had facial hair.“

Police released surveillance video images of the suspect, noting that he had a very distinctive logo on his shirt, visible after he removed a hooded sweatshirt that he was apparently wearing during the attacks. 

Investigators think the assaults were random and unprovoked — and unconnected as far as they can tell from any incidents before or since. 

“You have people who are victims of crimes through no fault of their own. None. They were in the wrong place. They didn't do anything to aggravate the individual,” Elder said. 

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information on the case, and are asking anyone with information to step forward. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).  Tips may be submitted electronically at www.CrimeStoppersMN.org

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