Attacked: Cyclists in Minn., runner in Iowa
Recent apparently random attacks on cyclists and runners in a downtown plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in a state park in Cedar Falls, Iowa, have mobilized police and citizens.
Three bicyclists on the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis were attacked on March 23 by a "flash mob" of 15 to 20 youths, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
On of the cyclists said he and two friends were jumped soon after they arrived at an intersection at 7:45 p.m. "Some kid" suddenly ran up to the man's friend and punched him, breaking his jaw. As many as 10 youths then surrounded the cyclists and tried to provoke a fight, the newspaper reported.
Although the incident occurred when the area was crowded with people and in the presence of two police officers, most of the assailants got away. One of the youths fled on one of the victim's bikes.
The Star Tribune reported that the officers caught a 20-year-old male and three juveniles. Antonio D. Jones, 20, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., was charged with felony fifth-degree drug possession, third-degree riot and fifth-degree assault.
The unrelated March 19 stabbing of a woman in George Wyth State Park in Cedar Falls, Iowa, prompted about 100 bikers, runners and walkers to gather on March 24 near the scene of the crime and declare themselves unafraid to continue their use of the trails in the Cedar Valley.
Dave Lipinski of Trekman Racing helped organize the event in part to raise money to cover the medical expenses of Paige King, the victim. Cedar Falls resident Mark Beltowski attended and said the stabbing won't deter his family.
"I ride the trails quite a bit on my bike and Anna (his daughter) runs them. It doesn't change my opinion at all. It's an amazing asset," Beltowski told the WCF Courier.
"We feel it's a safe trail system and this is just a random event," said Mary Jones, a volunteer member of the Cedar Trails Patrol.
Blake Andrew Houser is in custody for having stabbed King, apparently chosen at random. Last summer, Houser stabbed another woman running on an area road. "In both cases, Houser was riding a bicycle," the newspaper reported.
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