An 18-year-old Brooklyn Park, Minn., woman has been charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery and one count of second-degree assault after an attack on former Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew at Mall of America.
Andrew, 63, told police he had been sitting in a Starbucks at the mall on Dec. 26 when a young man quickly walked by his table, grabbed his iPhone and ran from the coffee shop.
According to the criminal complaint, Andrew stood to chase the thief and was blocked by 18-year-old Letaija Shapree Cutler-Cain and a 17-year-old Minneapolis girl. According to the criminal complaint, Cutler-Cain jumped on Andrew's back.
While Cutler-Cain was on Andrew's back, a girl under 18 struck Andrew in the head repeatedly with a metal baton, charging documents state. The criminal complaint also states that while Andrew was struggling with the two to prevent them from also fleeing the store, Cutler-Cain began gouging his face with her fingernails and screamed, "I'm going to kill you! Let me go or I'm going to kill you!"
Responding officers found Andrew was bleeding profusely from a large laceration on his head and on his mouth. Witnesses confirmed watching the young man steal the iPhone and flee as well as the altercation with the two young women who had been sitting at a table with the alleged thief.
Police recovered a collapsible "asp" type baton from the purse of the 17-year-old, and in an interview with police, Cutler-Cain admitted she and the other two had checked the Starbucks multiple times to see if they could steal property from a customer.
Andrew was treated at a nearby hospital for facial and head injuries. His iPhone was later recovered at the mall and returned to him.
The deadline to file charges against the girl with the baton has been extended to Monday.
Cutler-Cain is scheduled for her first court appearance on Dec. 30. Each felony count carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of $35,000.
"People ought to be able to sit and have a cup of coffee without fear of assault," said Freeman about the attack. "These two will be charged and prosecuted to the absolute fullest extent of the law."