Duluth police: Stabbing victim a veteran of Afghanistan, a 'nice kid'A 17-year-old boy is being held in the Arrowhead Juvenile Center on a preliminary charge of second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of a Duluth man who had served with the Army in Afghanistan.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
A 17-year-old boy is being held in the Arrowhead Juvenile Center on a preliminary charge of second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of a Duluth man who had served with the Army in Afghanistan.
The juvenile’s identity is not public until a formal charge is filed against him. The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office is expected to file a juvenile delinquency petition by Friday. Since he is at least 16 and the crime is a felony, the suspect’s identity would become public when the petition is filed.
Typically, in such a serious crime, the county attorney’s office would seek to certify the juvenile as an adult. St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin said Tuesday it was too early in the investigation to comment.
Duluth Deputy Police Chief Robin Roeser conducted a news conference at police headquarters Tuesday afternoon, but he was able to provide little information to the public about what led to the death of 27-year-old Bryan Alan Starnes.
Police responded to Starnes’ residence at 702 N. Fourth Ave. W. about 3:30 p.m. Saturday after they received a report of an unresponsive male there.
The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Monday and determined that the manner of Starnes’ death was homicide and the cause was injuries due to a stabbing.
Roeser said he couldn’t comment on whether the victim and suspect knew each other, the complete nature of the victim’s injuries, whether a weapon was recovered, nor whether anyone else was involved. He said police are “piecing the puzzle together making sure we know exactly what happened.”
“It is still very early in the investigation,” Roeser said. “Our Violent Crimes Unit investigators are continuing to follow leads and conduct interviews on this case. This is a very active investigation. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 911.”
Roeser said there is no need for the neighborhood to be in fear. “We have no reason to think that the neighborhood is in any way in jeopardy; this is not a random act,” he said.
After the news conference, Roeser declined to say if the teenager had admitted to the crime. “I’m not going to tell you what his statement was. He did talk to us,” Roeser said.
Bryan Starnes was born in West Valley City, Utah, and grew up in Overton, Nev. He received an honorable discharge after serving as a cavalry scout with the Army. He was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska, and had served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“Bryan’s mother wanted to make sure that I mentioned that Bryan loved people and made everybody laugh,” Roeser said.
“He was a good kid; he came from a good family; he served his country well — just a nice kid,” Roeser said. “We’ve had no contacts with him, nor have we found any other police contacts for him in any way, shape or form.”