A research scientist at Medtronic who was found beaten in downtown Minneapolis in July died from his injuries weeks later, police said.
Yet even though police say that Aleksandre Sambelashvili, 42, died on Aug. 23, his death wasn’t disclosed until Thursday, nearly three weeks later and the same day that his alleged attacker was booked into jail. Public jail records show that the 28-year-old suspect is being held without bail on suspicion of murder.
The Star Tribune is not naming the suspect because he hasn’t been formally charged.
Officers and paramedics found Sambelashvili lying unconscious “on the floor” around 1:36 a.m. on July 28 while responding to reports of a man down in the 100 block of S. 5th Street, police said. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for an apparent head injury, police said.
He died 26 days later, on Aug. 23, a police spokesman said. Working in tandem, detectives from the assault and homicide units identified a suspect, who was arrested on Thursday.
Neither the Police Department nor the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, which makes the final rulings on causes of death, acknowledged the incident until Thursday, when police sent out a news release.
Police spokesman John Elder said the delay in reporting the incident was due to a communication mix-up.
“The media was notified as soon as the Office of Public Information was made aware of the case,” he said. “I should’ve been notified about it, and I wasn’t.”
The exact circumstances of the incident that led to Sambelashvili’s death weren’t immediately clear.
A native of the Republic of Georgia, Sambelashvili was an MBA graduate from the University of Minnesota who earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He authored 17 peer-reviewed papers and filed more than 25 patents, and he developed an algorithm that “became a key cardiac rhythm therapy feature in Medtronic’s products that helped hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from heart failure live fuller lives,” according to an online obituary.
For the past 15 years he had worked with Medtronic, most recently as a program director for the cardiac rhythm management division, the company confirmed on Thursday. In a statement, Medtronic said it extended its “deepest sympathies” to Sambelashvili’s family.
“Because of Alex’s work, many patients with cardiac problems have been restored to better health and lived longer lives,” the statement read.
A longtime friend, Lev Frayman, recalled him as a “Renaissance man,” not only in his scientific accomplishments but also in his mastery of the accordion.
“But at the same time he was very modest, to the point where his close friends did not even know the extent of his work accomplishments until he passed,” Frayman said. “He didn’t drive a fancy car — most of his life he drove an old beat-up Corolla.”
A celebration of life service last week drew about 150 people, including doctors from around the country coming to pay their respects, he said.
Sambelashvili is survived by his wife, two young children, his mother and his brother.
Libor Jany • 612-673-4064 Twitter: @StribJany