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1 dead, 3 injured after car crashes into BLM protesters in Minneapolis

Protesters march in downtown Minneapolis on the first day of the Derek Chauvin trial. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
June 15, 2021

A woman was killed and several others were injured after a car drove through a group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Minneapolis on Sunday.

According to the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), the woman suffered life-threatening injuries during the incident and later died at a nearby hospital. Three others were also wounded and required medical treatment.

The deadly incident occurred on Lake Street and Girard just before midnight Sunday as demonstrators protested the death of Winston Boogie Smith, a 32-year-old black man who was killed during an attempted arrest by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force on June 3. Law enforcement officials said the suspect was arrested and taken into custody.

“Suspect pulled from the car by protesters. He is now [in] Police custody and being treated at area hospital. Unknown motive at this time,” the MPD wrote on Twitter.

Police spokesman John Elder said protesters “began to strike” the driver after pulling him from the vehicle, according to Star Tribune.

Video of the aftermath was shared on Twitter, showing the alleged suspect being held down on the ground immediately after the crash.

“Protesters were hit by a homicidal speeding car in Minneapolis. One protestor tried to position her vehicle to protect the protestors and has died. #DeonaMarie,” one Twitter user wrote.

The footage also showed multiple mangled vehicles.

“This [expletive] just came through 100 miles an hour. He just came through 100 miles an hour. He just came through 100 miles an hour, smashed this car…and he just killed her. He just [expletive] killed her,” the individual filming says.

KARE-TV reported that the victim of the incident was Deona Knajdek, 31, according to her brother Garrett Knajdek.

“She was probably the most wonderful person you could ever imagine,” he said. “She would … tear the shirt off her back to make sure someone was warm.”

Knajdek told the Star Tribune that his sister was using her car as a blockade when the suspect’s car plowed into her vehicle, causing her car to strike her.

While law enforcement stated that a motive for the incident is unknown, Elder said that “the use of drugs or alcohol … may be a contributing factor in this crash.”

The victim’s brother also noted that his sister, who leaves behind two daughters aged 11 and 13, would be against a violent response to her death.

“She wouldn’t want people rioting in the streets and causing chaos,” he said. “She doesn’t want a mess. She always wanted to make sure people were heard peacefully.”