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Robbery suspect loses fingers in tussle for Samurai sword

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- At least one robbery suspect lost fingers when four men broke into a south Minneapolis apartment and the two men inside battled for a souvenir Samurai sword the intruders had taken from a bedroom, police said.

Police said the intruders, one with a handgun, apparently planned to burglarize the apartment when they forced their way in early Wednesday.

One of the men in the apartment seriously injured one of the attackers, said Sgt. Medaria Arradondo. He said at least one of the burglars lost fingers.

The men in the apartment, who were treated for less serious wounds, told police they didn't know their attackers.

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"It's a rare occurrence when the suspects become the ones to suffer severe injuries," Arradondo said.

Three of the suspects showed up later at Hennepin County Medical Center, including a 17-year-old boy who had minor injuries and was placed in juvenile custody, Arradondo said. Two men, 18 and 29, were hospitalized and under police guard, he said. A fourth suspect was at large.

According to court and police records, the 29-year-old suspect has two felony convictions, one for aggravated robbery in 1994 in Minneapolis and the other a minor drug conviction in Fridley.

The 36-year-old sword-wielding victim, John, stood on the blood-spattered sidewalk outside the apartment building and recounted the attack later Wednesday, his left hand bandaged and his head sporting many stitches. He didn't want his last name used out of concern for his safety.

John said he was visiting the apartment of his friend when someone knocked about 3 a.m. When he opened the door, he said a man pushed his way in and another man put a gun put to his temple; then the two were ordered to lay face down on the floor.

John said his 26-year-old friend stood and told the burglars to take what they wanted and leave, but the gunman swung his handgun at the friend, who tried to take the gun away.

"As soon as I heard them start wrestling, I went for the sword," John said. He said a burglar near him had picked up the sword, bought by the friend in Germany. The curved steel sword was almost 3 feet long and was sheathed in a black wooden scabbard. John said the sword broke when the burglar smashed it on his head.

The battle continued, and John said he took a wild swing to defend his friend, who still was wrestling for the gun. He said two of the burglars ran around the scuffle and down the stairs, and he took another swing at the two burglars fighting his friend.

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Witness Matt Telfair, 25, said he left his second-floor apartment to see what was going on.

"I saw one guy coming downstairs with what looked like a pistol. He was totally covered in blood. Then another guy came down and helped the first guy go faster," Telfair said. "Another guy came after those guys with a Ninja sword in his hand and another guy behind him. They said, 'Call the police. These guys tried to rob us.'"

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