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Beloved friend and community member killed, neighborhood devastated

The community rallies around a local store after a beloved worker was killed
The community rallies around a local store after a beloved worker was killed 01:54

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police are investigating a stabbing that left a grocery store employee dead. 

Police arrived at a grocery store in Loring Park around 1 p.m. on Friday, according to a news release from the Minneapolis Police Department. Friends identified the man as 66-year old Robert Skafte. 

"Known him ever since I moved in here 17 years ago. I think he was the neighborhood ambassador, knows everybody. Everybody knows him," said Jon Tevlin, a friend. 

The 66-year-old was found behind the counter "with a golf club impaled through his torso," the department said in the news release. 

First responders gave the man "immediate medical aid," police said, and he was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center. Skafte died at the hospital, despite life-saving efforts, police said. 

In a news conference late Friday, police chief Brian O'Hara said that the suspect appeared to have collected some items from the store and taken them to the counter, according to the Associated Press. 

"The irony here is that he was the gentlest person I'd ever met. Just a sweetheart," Tevlin said. "I can't imagine him provoking anyone, or even fighting back...he was the most peaceful person you could ever meet. I would think that if someone were going to take something from the store, he wouldn't try to stop them. He would let them go. So I'm just really puzzled by this."

A memorial for Skafte grew throughout Friday evening into Saturday afternoon, where mourners gathered to stop and share tearfilled memories of a long-time community member.

"He was friends with everybody in the whole neighborhood. You know, they come into the store, and he was friends with all everybody who shopped there. I guess the best way to describe Robert is he was kind of a pillar of the neighborhood," said Daniel, a nearby resident of the store. 

"Ugh. It's senseless. It's absolutely senseless. Of all people for this to happen to, I have never ever heard one negative comment about Robert In 18 years. That speaks volumes of a life," said Clark Petersen, a friend. "He was vibrant in our community. Everyone loved him. He was kind, you know, he shared with people. This is a man that was good and communicated with others and gave back to the community...and then this?"

Minneapolis police say the case remains under investigation.  

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