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Police: Minneapolis store clerk impaled with golf club in deadly attack

Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A 66-year-old Minneapolis grocery store cashier was beaten to death and impaled with a golf club by an accused attacker who lives nearby in an "absolutely senseless" crime, police say.

The victim, identified by neighbors as Robert Skafte, was brutally attacked, beaten to death and impaled with a golf club for no apparent reason by a neighborhood man, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara told reporters at a Friday night press briefing.

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A 44-year-old man with a reported history of mental illness was taken into custody on suspicion of murder following a six-hour standoff involving SWAT teams and crisis negotiators at a nearby apartment building in city's Loring Park neighborhood.

"We will do our best to try and make sense of this, but this is horrific and absolutely senseless," O'Hara said, adding there is no readily apparent motive for the slaying.

The suspect has no criminal history in Minnesota other than a drunken driving charge but was ordered civilly committed for mental illness in Anoka County, Minn., in January 2021, the Star Tribune reported.

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Skafte was very well known and beloved in the neighborhood and had carved out an acclaimed artistic career as a ballet dancer, mourners said.

"It's tragic," fellow dancer and friend Myron Johnson told Minnesota Public Radio. "It's hard to even to imagine that it's real."

Johnson, founder of the Minneapolis dance troupe Ballet of the Dolls, said Skafte was a member of the company for several years before his retiring from the stage and taking work at the grocery store.

"He was a beautiful dancer, but he was a great, great actor," he said. "He separated himself out from a lot of dancers. He was 100 percent present on stage. Just remarkable to watch."

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