Community of St. Louis Park reacts to recent homicide

A dead body, found naked, bruised, and wrapped in a bed sheet, was recently discovered behind an industrial building nearby the railroad tracks, in close proximity to BSM. After further investigation by the St. Louis Park Police Department, the body was identified as Nerissa Shaw, 46, of Minneapolis. Her ex-boyfriend, 54 year old Walter Thompson III, has been charged with second degree murder.

A criminal complaint filed against Thompson claims that despite being on probation for violating a restraining order against Shaw, the two were drinking together on September 13th, the night Thompson allegedly beat Shaw to death.

Security cameras from Thompson’s apartment recorded him and two women, later identified as his daughter Rachel Lee Thompson and his sister Senaca Ann Thompson, transferring a large plastic container from the apartment into a car, undoubtedly Shaw’s body. Both have since been charged as accomplices in the murder.

Our police work with the community very closely through outreach programs throughout the city and with the schools to build a community policing model that works very well and builds relationships with police to not only solve crimes but also more importantly to prevent them in the first place.”

— Jeff Jacobs

In the recent past, other homicides have occurred in in the St. Louis Park area. In 2010, Howard Charles DeBoise, with a past history of spousal abuse, stabbed his wife to death at a location off of Excelsior Boulevard, and in 2011, Pamela Beaulieu was gruesomely stabbed to death in a motel room at the Lakeland Inn. Both of these locations, as well, are in close proximity to BSM.

These incidents serve to cast light on a larger issue–is St. Louis Park a safe area for families and students? St. Louis Park has had 8 homicides in the past 10 years, which is more than Plymouth, Edina, and Eden Prairie combined, However, St. Louis Park’s murder rate is comparable to other “inner suburbs” such as Bloomington and Richfield.

Despite the handful of homicides over the years, the mayor of St. Louis Park believes the city is doing its best in regards to these issues. “Our police work with the community very closely through outreach programs throughout the city and with the schools to build a community policing model that works very well and builds relationships with police to not only solve crimes but also more importantly to prevent them in the first place, ” Jeff Jacobs, Mayor of St. Louis Park, said.

Occurrences like these raise concern among BSM students. The cross country team runs in this area, and a number of students have expressed concern in regards to the safety. “We have three coaches and make sure to spread the coaches out––one up front, one in the middle, and one in the back. We always talk about safety and rules of the road so people are safe while out running and running where they should be. We never let anyone run alone,” Mr. Casey Hanson, BSM Girls’ Cross Country Coach, said.

While incidents such as this occur rarely in St. Louis Park, it is important to be aware of current surroundings and to exercise caution. Reporting suspicious activity to the police is key in the hopes of preventing tragedies such as this occurrence in the future.