5th Precinct Crime Snapshot thru March 23

Fatal fire in Lowry Hill

An early morning fire at 48 Groveland Terrace March 19 claimed the life of Barbara Nepper, age 65.

Nepper died at Hennepin County Medical Center as a result of complications of thermal injuries, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Firefighters contained the fire to Nepper’s first-floor apartment; sprinklers had activated by the time they arrived. They found no other victims, and said no one else sustained injuries. Evacuated residents returned to their units shortly after the fire was contained.

Minneapolis Police and the State Fire Marshal are investigating the incident.

The Fire Department reports this is the fourth fire-related fatality in Minneapolis this year. Karl Vanden Branden, age 60, died of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries following a Jan. 12 fire at his home at 2427 Pleasant Ave. S.


Kidnapping charges filed in Armatage incident

A Minneapolis resident faces six criminal charges after allegedly kidnapping a four-year-old boy from his backyard March 10 at the 6100 block of Russell Avenue.

“As is almost always the case, the defendant in this kidnapping charge knew the boy and his family,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. “This was a terrifying time for the parents and the neighbors who saw the child taken from the backyard. Everyone acted quickly, provided police with good information and officers from several departments helped stop the fleeing suspect and safely return the boy to his mother and father.”

Xavier Kent Fritz-Smead, age 24, is charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, third-degree assault, fleeing police in a motor vehicle and two counts of assaulting a police officer. 

A Minnetonka police officer spotted the suspect’s vehicle on I-494 and chased the car until it went into a ditch. Police struggled with the suspect to remove the child from his grip until paramedics sedated him, according to the attorney’s office.

The child did not sustain any reported injuries.