Machete-wielding suspect causes fatal crash, garage collapse in St. Paul

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One man died and another man was injured in a wreck late Friday night in St. Paul.

Just before midnight Friday, officers were called to an apartment on the 800 block of Blair Avenue on a report of a domestic situation. According to the caller, her boyfriend was fighting with her teenage son.

The caller told dispatchers that her boyfriend had a machete and had tried to stab her son with the weapon.

While en route to the call, officers were told that the suspect had taken the machete and left the residence in a van. Police spotted him driving erratically through nearby alleys with the lights off. 

One officer was nearly struck by the suspect’s vehicle while responding to the call. Officers activated their emergency lights, but the suspect did not stop. A short time later, officers heard a crash on the 800 block Sherburne Avenue.

When officers arrived at the crash scene, they saw a badly damaged garage as well as the suspect attempting to flee on foot. Shawn Michael Konder, 26, of St. Paul, was arrested without incident.

Konder suffered some injuries, including a cracked sternum and broken clavicle. He faces a number of charges including vehicular homicide and may face other charges, like terroristic threats. 

Officers also discovered a gravely injured man in another vehicle that had apparently been struck by the suspect’s van. He was transported to Regions Hospital, where later died. He has been identified as 41-year-old Lashay Whittaker.

"It's just hard to take in," said Dedrick Young. 

Young said the victim worked at his barber shop for about 15 years. He was a married father of two and was a family man with a good sense of humor, Young said. 

"It's difficult because it happened last night and people are coming in for their haircuts and you've got to tell them--and we joke around so much that we have to let them know that this is serious, this happened," Young said. 

Police continue to work to piece together how the crash unfolded, while the community mourns the loss of a life cut short.