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Man attacked 81-year-old with a hammer in Duluth grocery store bathroom, charges say

Morning headlines from May 29, 2024
Morning headlines from May 29, 2024 02:19

DULUTH, Minn. — An 81-year-old man is recovering from his injuries after he was allegedly attacked by a man he did not know in a Duluth grocery store bathroom. 

According to charging documents, the 81-year-old man explained to police that he had come to the Mount Royal Market on the 1600 block of Woodland Avenue with a friend on Friday morning. He had gone to the restroom before starting his shopping. 

The victim said that a man, identified in documents as 43-year-old Lance Tolbert, had emerged from one of the stalls and began attacking him with a hammer. 

The man said he was able to get the hammer away from Tolbert, but the attack only stopped when another person came into the restroom. Documents say Tolbert grabbed the hammer back and left the store on foot.

Tolbert was found roughly 15 minutes later, heading away from the grocery store. He was wearing winter boots, hunting-style insulated camo overalls, a black t-shirt and protective shinpads. He was also carrying a hatchet, documents say.

Charges say he had what appeared to be blood on the knee area of his pants, along with his hand and face. The next day, officers found Tolbert's jacket, which had a blood-covered hatchet in the pocket. 

The victim told police that he had never seen Tolbert before, and they hadn't spoken before the attack. 

Tolbert is charged with attempted first-degree murder. If convicted, he could face up to a 20-year sentence.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the victim is in stable condition. 

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