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Minneapolis flash mob beatings: Victim's mother details St. Patrick's Day attack

Pieter in the hospital after he was brutally beaten by a mob of young people.
Pieter in the hospital after he was brutally beaten by a mob of young people.

Reached at home, Pieter's mother explains that her son is resting. Pieter is recovering from a brain injury suffered when he was attacked by a group of 20 to 30 young people in downtown Minneapolis shortly after 11 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day night and can't talk on the phone until he gets a few more hours of rest.

But Pieter's mom Grace knows the story of what happened that night inside and out. It's a story that has unfolded disturbingly often recently -- since the start of February, "flash mobs" have struck with violence in downtown Minneapolis six times.

Three of the attacks have resulted in injuries, but Pieter's are by far the most severe. After he was attacked, doctors at HCMC struggled to contain swelling in his brain. The possibility of Pieter needing open-brain surgery hung over the family until 7 a.m. the next morning, when doctors finally concluded it wouldn't be necessary. Pieter, 27, is now in the early stages of a slow recovery from his injuries, but it's still too early to know whether he'll ever bounce back completely.

Pieter and his 23-year-old nephew were out downtown to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. They were hanging out at Kieran's, and decided to head back to their hotel room on the other side of downtown around 11. While walking to their room, Pieter and his nephew were "blindsided" by "20 to 30 juveniles."

Blood was splattered on the sidewalk shortly after Pieter and his nephew were beaten near 7th & Marquette.
Blood was splattered on the sidewalk shortly after Pieter and his nephew were beaten near 7th & Marquette.

Grace said a Wells Fargo security guard saw part of the incident and later told police that the mob repeatedly kicked Pieter while he lay on the ground helplessly. When the beating finally ceased, Pieter was left with a bloody face, no short-term memory, and significant brain injuries.

Pieter worked as a visual artist and graphic designer before the attack. He's home from the hospital now and staying with his mother. As he couldn't do in the hours immediately following the beatdown, he now remembers his name and is regaining some mobility. Yet he can't drive or go outside by himself, and his brain is still swollen. But Grace is optimistic Pieter is on the road to recovery.

As for the assailants? Both Pieter and his nephew have said the attack commenced so unexpectedly, they really can't remember anything about the young people who beat them mercilessly. "It happened so fast [Pieter] can't remember anything about them," Grace said.

Thankfully, a surveillance camera caught the incident on tape. That video is now in the custody of Minneapolis police, but no arrests have yet been made in connection with Pieter's beating.

Sgt. Steve McCarty of the Minneapolis Police Department said investigators are currently looking into possible connections between the string of incidents that has downtown Minneapolis on edge and Pieter facing a long recovery from devastating injuries.

-- Pieter's last name wasn't disclosed at the request of his family.


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