MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - A Montana man has been charged in connection to an assault at a Lakeville Walmart that left a man in the hospital this past October.
David Gene Beckett, of Corvallis, Montana, faces one count of third-degree assault in Dakota County. He was charged on Dec. 21, 2021.
The criminal complaint says the assault took place behind a Walmart on Oct. 27, 2021. A man was driving with his mother in law, and when he exited Interstate 35, he noticed a Jeep Grand Cherokee following him extremely closely. When he parked in the handicap parking spot, the driver of the Jeep, identified as Beckett, parked nearby and yelled at the man, accusing the victim of cutting him off. He threatened to "beat" him, the complaint says.
In an interview with police, the victim said he agreed to go around the building with Beckett, believing he could reason with him.
Beckett allegedly said they were going to a place without cameras and when they arrived near the store's storage containers, punched the victim in the chest. Beckett then pulled and twisted the victim's leg, breaking it. The victim then fell on the ground, and Beckett punched his head and then fled, the complaint states.
Police released photos and video of Beckett to the public in early November in an effort to identify him. On Nov. 5, a man who works at a Lakeville business told police he believed the suspect to be Beckett. The man knew Beckett had a business address in Montana, but had come to Minnesota to make a purchase from him, court documents say.
The man said he'd seen Beckett every day between Oct. 25 and 27, and said he wearing the same jacket and shoes as in the surveillance video. The man also said he believed Beckett was staying at a hotel in Lakeville.
Hampton Inn and Suites in Lakeville said Beckett had checked into their hotel on Oct. 25, and checked out on Oct. 28. Cell phone tracking information also put Beckett at the Walmart at the time of the assault.
The complaint says the victim was in the hospital for nine days and needed surgery and physical therapy.
If convicted, the third-degree assault charge carries a maximum 5-year sentence.
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