It was tragic day in St. Paul. After the slaying of a Mendota Heights police officer and the ensuing manhunt, KSTP-TV’s Megan Matthews reports, “St. Paul Police say they received a tip that Brian Fitch Sr. may be in the area of Rice Street and Sycamore Street in St. Paul. Officers responded to the area and spotted Fitch driving. Authorities say Fitch recognized one of the unmarked squad cars and made a U-turn. One of the squad cars was able to pull in front of Fitch’s car to stop him. As an officer got out of his squad car, Fitch opened fire, according to St. Paul Police. Officers fired back, shooting Fitch several times. Fitch is in the hospital.” A female companion was also shot.
KMSP-TV’s Tom Lyden reports, “Brian George Fitch Sr. was one of the most wanted men in Minnesota, and had been residing in the St. Paul and West St. Paul area while on supervised probation. Fitch Sr. was declared a wanted fugitive on June 2, and warrant for his arrest was issued by the Department of Corrections following a probation violation related to a burglary case out of Washington County. It remains unknown how he violated his patrol, but he would have known that he was looking at 3 years in prison for that violation before Patrick walked up to his window. The 39-year-old has a huge rap sheet that includes assault, escape, burglary, theft, assault and terroristic threats. He also had a warrant out of Washington County for failing to pay child support.”
PiPress columnist Ruben Rosario writes, “So far this year, according to the site, [Officer Scott] Patrick is the first peace officer in Minnesota and the 64th in the U.S. killed in the line of duty, a 7 percent increase in such deaths over last year. He is the 27th officer killed by gunfire, a 50 percent increase compared with 2013. There have been 28 auto-related deaths, a 17 percent spike. May was the deadliest month so far, with 18 line-of-duty fatalities. California has accounted for the most such deaths with eight, followed by Texas with four and four other states and Puerto Rico, tied with three.”
In other news, Archbishop Nienstedt sort of spoke to some of the press yesterday, but mostly released a column he wrote, declaring that he will not resign. His predicament long ago became a national story. In The New York Times, Michael Paulson says, “He did not directly address accusations that he himself had had inappropriate sexual relationships with adult men, other than to say that he commissioned an investigation ‘because I had nothing to hide and wanted to be vindicated from false allegations, as anyone would.’”
Catholic World News reports, rather daintily, “The archbishop says that he has always sought to be honest with the faithful of the Minnesota archdiocese, and that his administrative team has worked to give top priority to the victims of sexual abuse. He argues that he and his staff are now better prepared to handle the abuse issue in the future.”
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There’ll be some expensive road work up by Virginia. Dan Kraker of MPR says, “Every day, 10,000 cars zip along Highway 53, one of the Iron Range’s most vital transportation arteries. Just a few hundred feet from the roadway, between Virginia and Eveleth, hidden by a strip of trees, the earth falls away into a mammoth mine pit, where four-story tall trucks scrape red ore out of the ground. The proximity of the road to the excavation site points to the need to move the highway away from the expanding mine — a project that could cost more than $400 million.”
That Strib story about Circus Juventas and how unhappy they are with the city of St. Paul and how they want to move out to the toney western suburbs? Nothing to it, says the circus boss. MPR’s Marianne Combs says, “[Circus Juventas Founder and Executive Director Dan] Butler blames an article in Saturday’s Star Tribune, which he says wrongly portrayed his company’s relationship with the city of St. Paul. ‘The tone of the article, based on the headline, was completely inaccurate,’ said Butler. ‘The online version said ‘Fighting with St. Paul, Circus Juventas hunts for new home. ‘That means two things; we have a bad relationship with St. Paul and secondly, that we’re leaving – and that can’t be farther from the truth.’”
Also from MPR, Tim Pugmire files a story off the on-air debate between GOP gubernatorial candidates Scott Honour, Marty Seifert, Jeff Johnson and Kurt Zellers. “There was some additional friction when Zellers boasted that he passed a two-year budget in 2011 that “cut the size of government by 6 percent” and “reduced the cost of government by 8 percent.” That budget also ended a state government shutdown. Seifert took exception with Zellers and his numbers. ‘I would have vetoed the budget that Kurt Zellers passed in 2011,’ Seifert said. ‘It did not downsize government enough. It did not reform government enough. It borrowed from tobacco bonds. It borrowed from the schools. I would have vetoed the budget and returned it to the Legislature. I would have vetoed the stadium bill that also passed.’”
And a couple more Jesse Ventura items. Steve Karnowski of the AP reports on the matter of who is on the hook for the $1.8 million jury award. “Attorney John Borger, who represented Kyle in her capacity as executor of Chris Kyle’s estate, said Tuesday that insurance won’t cover everything. He said it will cover the $500,000 awarded for defamation, but not the $1.3 million for unjust enrichment. ‘All of that comes directly from money that Taya and Chris received from royalties or whatever assets the estate may have,’ he said.”
And in the Strib, columnist Jon Tevlin writes, “Ventura seemed genuinely hurt that the brotherhood of frogmen and SEALs had turned against him. But it was suggested in court, and I believe it to be true, that he was harmed far less by the fistfight anecdote than by the fact he was suing the widow of a dead SEAL. Not cool.”