Prosecutors on Monday filed attempted-murder and assault charges against a Minneapolis man they say ran over four people during an argument outside a Warehouse District bar, seriously injuring one of them.
A witness told police that Eduardo Morales, 23, was driving between 50-60 mph in reverse when he ran over the victims, and then shifted back into drive and struck at least two of the victims again, according to a criminal complaint.
He faces one count of second-degree attempted murder and three counts of second-degree assault, all felonies. A first court appearance has been set for Tuesday afternoon.
The incident happened about 2:30 a.m. Friday, just after bar-close, in the parking lot of Rouge at the Lounge, 411 N. 2nd Av.
After an argument broke out between Morales and a friend and a group of people outside the bar, witnesses recalled Morales asking the friend to give him the keys to his white Mercedes, according to the complaint. The two men jumped into the Mercedes, with Morales behind the wheel, and initially drove away from the scene, toward the intersection of N. 2nd Avenue and 4th Street, the complaint said. Then, the car suddenly went into reverse and sped toward the group still standing outside the bar, striking four of them, before continuing on to 2nd Avenue and 5th Street. It then changed direction again, with Morales allegedly driving forward to run over two of the victims who were still on the ground, before fleeing the scene.
Arriving officers found one of the victims, a Rouge employee, unresponsive, lying face down in the street with labored breathing, police said. He and the other three were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, and as of the complaint's filing on Monday, he remained in critical condition with doctors saying that if he does survive the ordeal, he's unlikely to ever regain full brain function.
The complaint said that Morales turned himself in at the 5th Precinct police station about 40 minutes after the incident. He told investigators that he and his friend had gotten into an argument with the Rouge employee over the latter's refusal to pay Morales' friend for his services. According to the filing, Morales admitted to running the victims over, but "essentially claimed" it was in self-defense.
According to an earlier search-warrant affidavit filed in the case, both men told investigators that they had consumed a couple of beers before the confrontation broke out, but the complaint gave no indication that alcohol was a factor in the incident.
It capped a carnage-filled night on Twin Cities roadways that saw at least five people killed and several others injured in separate incidents.
Libor Jany • 612-673-4064 Twitter: @StribJany