ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Police in St. Paul, Minnesota have arrested a suspect in a possibly racially motivated assault near Metropolitan State University that occurred last month.
Steven Craig Parker, age 59, is charged with simple robbery and assault related to events on June 19.
On that day, around 1:45 p.m., a man was sitting on some steps outside the campus grounds when another man approached him from behind, according to the St. Paul Police Department. The suspect reportedly asked the victim where he was from and why he was in this country. He then hit the victim on the side of his face and fled.
Officers say the victim suffered orbital and sinus fractures as a result of the attack.
Parker was arrested Thursday, officers say, after an unrelated robbery. Following his arrest, the victim of the June 19 attack also identified him in a photo lineup as the assault suspect.
According to charges released Friday afternoon, officers also believe Parker was involved in another assault on June 19 at a Walgreen's on Arcade Street, less than an hour before the Metro State assault. In that incident, officers say Parker began yelling at the store's manager, referencing his Mexican heritage, before walking out of his store without paying for two items: a video game and a bottle of detergent.
The manager followed Parker outside, police said, where Parker charged at him, throwing both items at the manager. Moments later, investigators say Parker returned with another man and both men punched and kicked the manager before running away on foot.
Police say Parker has three prior felony convictions for theft, receiving stolen property, and assault.
Metro State released a statement regarding the arrest, thanking police for their dedication to the case.
"The university is committed to being a welcoming and safe environment for all," read the statement. "While we acknowledge that this arrest alone does not eradicate the possibility of future bias-related incidents, we do hope this brings a measure of relief to the university and surrounding community."