Sheriff: Man dies 8 days after assault outside Minnesota bar, investigation ongoing

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An assault outside the Muddy Boot bar in Forada, Minn. may have killed 46-year-old Steven Hlinsky, a local firefighter. 

Authorities in west-central Minnesota are investigating the death of a man who was found unresponsive outside a bar earlier this month and died eight days later, possibly the result of an assault that police are still working to piece together.

Friends and family identified the man who died Monday as 46-year-old Steven Hlinsky, a fireman at the department in Forada, Minn., just outside of Alexandria. Better known by his childhood nickname, "Beaver," he was a 28-year veteran of the fire department and three time firefighter of the year. 

"His are going to be hard shoes to fill," said Forada Fire Department Chief Bob Steidl. "I think there were maybe only one or two times someone beat 'Beav' to the fire hall."

The fatal incident happened shortly before 1 a.m. on May 5, when deputies responded to the Muddy Boot Bar in Forada near Alexandria on a report of an assault. When they arrived, they found Hlinsky on the sidewalk bleeding from the nose and ear. 

He was taken to the Douglas County Hospital and eventually airlifted to St. Cloud. Hlinsky was released from the hospital last Friday, but on Sunday the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received a call from his house reporting a “medical situation.” When authorities arrived, they found Hlinsky unresponsive and not breathing. He was later pronounced dead. 

An autopsy is still pending, but authorities are trying to determine whether Hlinsky's death is the result of the injuries he received during the incident or from a separate cause. And while it remains unclear why Hlinsky was assaulted that night, police believe it may have something to do with a group of people who were also at Muddy Boot bar and fled before police got to the scene.

Anyone with any information regarding the reported assault is asked to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.