Close-knit St. Paul neighborhood reels after shooting death of beloved resident

St. Paul’s close-knit St. Anthony Park community is reeling after a man whose family has been in the neighborhood for decades was shot and killed in front of his home Saturday morning.

Michael Brasel, 44, who grew up in St. Anthony Park, was fatally injured about 7:30 a.m., and pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center. No arrests had been reported on Sunday afternoon.

Police say they believe Brasel was interrupting a crime outside his home on the 2300 block of Chilcombe Avenue.

Investigators a few hours after the shooting focused their attention on a vehicle parked in front of the house. It was later towed away, escorted by police.

A GoFundMe account was set up within hours to support Brasel’s family. As of Sunday afternoon, more than $78,000 had been donated and dozens of condolences posted.

Brasel’s wife Hilary flooded her Instagram feed with tributes to him on Saturday night. In one public post she wrote, “The world lost a great man today. Can’t believe we have lost you to gun fire in our front yard. Your humor, love and light will forever guide us. We will love you forever.”

“Proud Dad, Devoted Coach, Amazing Man! 💔❤️‍🩹💔” and “Happiest on the ice with the people he loved,” she posted along with photos of their sons.

Brasel was a head coach for a Roseville Area Youth Hockey team. One of his sons played in the league.

His wife also wrote, “To know him is to love him and all his crazy ways! Michael you were one in a million and I am so glad I have gotten to love you for 23 years. 💔💔💔💔”

Neighbors were in shock and disbelief Sunday, said Helen Warren, who has lived in the area for 18 years and is on the board of the Park Bugle, a community newspaper serving the area. She said she saw Brasel grow up.

One of Warren’s elderly neighbors, a woman named Judy, was friends with Brasel’s mother, Nancy, who is now deceased.

When Warren went out to walk her dog Sunday, she ran into many other neighbors doing the same thing.

She ran into Judy out walking. The other woman said, “I just walked down to Michael’s house. Somebody tried to tell me yesterday that he was dead but I didn’t believe it. Can you tell me what happened?” Warren recounted.

After Warren told her she said, “Michael is dead.” and then asked again, “Can you tell me what happened?”

Warren said this response is indicative of how the entire community is reacting: “It’s hard for us to believe…We are stunned. We can’t quite believe it. We are trying to do the best we can. We don’t quite know what to do at this point.”

Saturday’s shooting took place less than two miles away from a business where a man was shot in the buttocks when he interrupted two men trying to steal a catalytic convertor one afternoon last year.

He was inside working at a business at 2350 Territorial Road around 3:40 p.m. Feb. 21, 2022 when he saw two men near his coworker’s truck. One man was in the driver’s seat and another was under the truck. He said he heard a sawing noise and saw legs sticking out, so he put his foot on one of the legs and yelled, “Stop that!”

Then he heard a gunshot, realized he’d been shot and fell to the ground. He managed to crawl back inside the business where coworkers helped him and called police.

Two men were arrested and convicted in that case.

St. Paul police Sergeant Mike Ernster said in a press conference Saturday that the neighborhood is “very quiet” and that something like this occurring there is “very unusual.”

Police ask anyone with information or potential video call 651-266-5650.

This is St. Paul’s 13th homicide of the year.

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