It was a chaotic and deadly scene in Uptown Minneapolis Sunday night, as a woman was killed and two others injured when a man drove his SUV into a crowd of protesters at the intersection of Lake Street and Girard Avenue, according to eyewitnesses and the Minneapolis Police Department.
The incident happened around 11:30 pm, near the site where Winston Boogie Smith, 32, was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies as part of a U.S. Marshals Task Force on June 3. Protesters had gathered for a rally atop the parking ramp where Smith was killed, and then demonstrations occurred in the surrounding area on Sunday afternoon to call for police accountability in Smith’s death. He was laid to rest by family and friends on Saturday.
According to witnesses, after the assailant, identified through Hennepin County booking information as 35-year-old Nicolas David Kraus, drove his car into the crowd, protesters restrained him until the police arrived. He was then taken into custody and to the hospital. The MPD has said the man’s motive was not known at this time and an investigation is ongoing. He is being held in suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide.
Videos posted on social media show the chaotic aftermath of the deadly crash, with one protester walking the alleged assailant down the street and over to the police. One video that has been widely shared on social media shows traumatized and distressed protesters after the crash, with one man repeatedly crying out, “He just f**king killed her!”
Warning: This video contains strong language.
Protester Zachariah Hill-Smith told a KSTP reporter Monday morning that he was a witness to the entire incident, and that he was one of the people treated at the hospital and released. He said protesters were in the street Sunday night barbequing and listening to music when the assailant sped up, going “at least 80” MPH as he approached the demonstration. The assailant hit a car, sending it flying. That car struck people in the crowd, injuring two people, and killing a woman, identified by media outlets as 31-year-old Deona Marie Knajdek. “No one deserves to go out like that,” said Hill-Smith. “No one!”
By Monday morning, community members had created a memorial for Knajdek on the sidewalk where she was slain. An event honoring her memory is in the works.
The MSR will continue to update this story has it develops.