A felon with a lengthy criminal history was charged with second-degree murder, accused of running down a man in a Blaine Target parking lot who was attempting to recover some of his burglarized property.
Pierre Jerel Anderson, 30, of St. Paul, was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail in the death of Kenneth Alan Niesen, 58, of Brooklyn Park.
Niesen owned a transmission shop in St. Paul, according to Wade Kish, an assistant Anoka County attorney.
The shop was burglarized Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, and a number of items that appeared to have been taken then showed up on Facebook Marketplace, according to the criminal complaint.
Associates of Niesen made arrangements to meet the seller outside the Target store at 1500 109th Av. in Blaine. The seller arrived in a GMC Yukon and parked near Niesen's vehicle around 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, the criminal complaint said.
One of the people with Niesen got out of his vehicle and looked into the Yukon and saw items they believed had been taken in the burglary.
Niesen and the others with him pulled up in their vehicle and partly blocked the Yukon. Several people, including Niesen, approached the Yukon, apparently on foot.
"As they were approaching, the driver of the Yukon drove around [Niesen's] vehicle, then rapidly accelerated," striking Niesen, who was standing in front of the driver's side headlight, and running him over.
He appeared to have been run over by both the front and rear tires of the Yukon, according to the complaint.
Associates of Niesen gave police a description of the vehicle, and a firefighter spotted it a short time later. Officers spotted the Yukon at a Speedway convenience store on Constance Boulevard in Ham Lake. They saw body damage on the driver's front side. The officers went around outside the store and saw a male fleeing.
With the assistance of a police dog, they arrested Anderson, who matched the description of the driver.
While authorities contend it was Anderson who ran over Niesen, it is not yet known if he committed the burglary, Kish said.
Court records showed that Anderson has at least eight felony convictions over 10 years related to theft, burglary and assault, along with more than 40 arrests for driving after his license had been revoked.
At a first court appearance Friday in Anoka County, Anderson asked for and was appointed a public defender, Kish said. Anderson will make his next court appearance Jan. 29.
Wayne Heath, a commander in the Anoka County Sheriff's Office, said that the Sheriff's Office, Blaine police and the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office were conducting the investigation.
"Ken [Niesen] was the most wonderful son, brother, husband, father, uncle, and friend to everyone he met," according to a statement by Alana Petersen, a cousin of Niesen's wife. "Words cannot express our grief."
A GoFundMe page has been set up on his family's behalf.
Randy Furst • 612-673-4224