Taxi driver was slain by man fleeing earlier homicide, police say — (Star Tribune)

Original article no longer available

Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities

 April 11, 2000

Author: Joy Powell; Chris Graves; Jim Adams; Staff Writers

A Sears repairman is being held in two Minneapolis slayings that police say are tied by a van left at the airport and a handgun.   Two fatal shootings that occurred two miles apart Friday in south Minneapolis have been traced to the same gun and a single suspect, police said Monday. Investigators believe that a 30-year-old Cottage Grove man killed a young Minneapolis woman, drove to the airport but failed to catch a plane and then caught a cab and later killed the driver. Within hours, Andrew J. Krosch, 30, was arrested on Interstate Hwy. 94 near Alexandria in a stolen Blue & White cab. Police said he had the .22-caliber handgun believed to have been used in both killings.  Police later found a Sears delivery van, believed to have been used in the woman’s slaying, at the airport, said Minneapolis police Lt. Dan Grout. The body of Andrea Applebee, 25, had been found with multiple gunshot wounds shortly before 3:30 a.m. Friday in the 2300 block of 10th Av. S. About three hours later, the taxi driver, Daniel B. Kabtyimer, 23, of St. Paul, was slain in the 2000 block of E. 32nd St. Krosch, a father of two who repairs appliances for Sears, is being held in the Hennepin County jail. He hasn’t been charged.
Krosch’s wife, Laurie, said he had been taking antidepressant medication, but had trouble sleeping lately, had begun drinking again and talked of the world ending soon. Laurie Krosch last saw her husband about 5 p.m. Thursday when she left for her part-time job in St. Paul. She said he had put their children to bed that night and left. She arrived home at midnight and he wasn’t there. It was unclear how Applebee met her killer. Grout said investigators suspect she was killed inside the van, which was being combed for evidence. Debbie Applebee, the mother of Andrea, said she has custody of her daughter’s three sons, ages 2, 4 and 8.
At her daughter’s wake Monday night, Debbie Applebee recalled the young woman: “She was born and raised in the Phillips neighborhood. She just loved Franklin Avenue. She knew everybody and everybody knew her. She had a crazy personality.” Applebee was shot repeatedly, and her body was left on a curb on the west side of 10th Avenue S., Grout said. The killer drove to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and tried unsuccessfully to catch a plane out of town, Grout said.  Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., few planes fly out of the airport because of noise concerns, said Amy Von Walter, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Grout said police believe that Krosch caught the Blue & White taxi that Kabtyimer was driving at the main terminal. Under the airport’s computerized system, cabdrivers wait for fares in line at a staging area on Post Road, about a three-minute drive from the main terminal. Grout said airport computer records show Kabtyimer was registered to pick up a fare shortly before he was killed.
The cab left the airport, possibly on Hwy. 55, and drove into Minneapolis’ Corcoran neighborhood. There, Kabtyimer was shot repeatedly in the taxi on 32nd St. near 20th Av. S., and the cab struck a parked van, Grout said. Witness hears crash A woman in the neighborhood said that just before 6:30 a.m. she heard a crash and saw that a Blue & White taxi had hit a van. The taxi may have stopped at a stop sign right before the crash, the woman said. The car’s right side was on the boulevard, said the woman, who gave a statement to police. She asked that her name not be published because she fears for her safety. “The back passenger door was open, and at this time, there was a man on the driver’s side, standing hunched outside of the car, struggling to pull out the driver, who was unconscious,” she said. “The man was saying, `C’mon! C’mon!’ pulling on him. It looked like the driver was dead weight.  He pulled him out of the car and jumped in the driver’s seat, and then he backed over him. When he turned the wheel to the left to get around the van, the body was in front of the tires and lodged under the car. It kept going down the street with him.” The woman frantically called 911. When she ran back to the scene, she saw the body on the street a half-block away.
The killer didn’t steal Kabtyimer’s taxi receipts, suggesting the motive was to steal the cab to get out of town, Grout said.  Based on the information from the witness, police issued a statewide bulletin to find the taxi. A driver heard news reports and saw the taxi on I-94, five miles west of Sauk Centre.  He called 911.  Four minutes later, an Alexandria police officer and a state trooper spotted the taxi.  They waited for backup from a second trooper before stopping the car at 8:44 a.m. Friday. Kabtyimer had been driving a Blue & White taxi that he had subleased from another driver for about two months, said his father, Begashaw Balcha. Both father and son drove taxis that worked out of the airport. Kabtyimer drove part-time, and his night hours worried his father. Kabtyimer had delayed his college education so that he and his father could earn money to bring Kabtyimer’s mother and eight siblings from Kenya. In September 1995, Kabtyimer, his 12-year-old brother, Million, and their father immigrated to the Twin Cities from Kenya. They settled into a St. Paul apartment and Kabtyimer graduated from Highland Park High School in 1997. The taxi driving was to be temporary for Kabtyimer, who planned to enroll at a university in Michigan next fall and study computers, his father said. “His intention was get a good job, be a good citizen, lead a good life,” the father said. Balcha said Kabtyimer was a loving and obedient son. “He was very sociable, he was kind of flamboyant and everybody liked him,” Balcha said.

Struggle with alcohol

Laurie Krosch said her husband had struggled with alcoholism for much of his adult life and had twice been admitted to in-patient treatment programs. St. Paul police arrested Krosch in September 1994 after his wife reported that the two had argued about where he had been one night. The police report said she slapped him on the back and he, in turn, punched her several times.
In the past several weeks, Laurie Krosch said, her husband had grown increasingly troubled despite medication he took for depression and sleeplessness. On March 29, Andrew Krosch took their children to a neighbor’s house, saying he was suicidal and needed help, his wife said Monday.  That neighbor, she said, called police. Officers arrived and put him in the back of a squad car and took him to a detoxification center.   On several occasions, he went to area hospitals looking for someone to talk with.  Laurie Krosch said her husband told her he had heard the world was going to end on Easter, which falls on his birthday this year.
On Monday, Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar said she expected a decision by late this afternoon on whether Krosch will be charged with the slayings.  Deadly chain of events. 1. Andrea Applebee, 25, of Minneapolis, is fatally shot early Friday and her body is found on the 2300 block of 10th Av. S. about 3:30 a.m. Police suspect she was killed in a van that the killer was driving. 2. Police say the killerdrove the van to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and left it there, possibly seeking a flight at a time few were departing. Investigators believe the killer rode in a cab away from the airport. 3. Cabdriver Daniel B. Kabtyimer, 23, of St. Paul, is shot multiple times, pulled from the vehicle and run over by the cab. The killer drives away and the body is found about 6:30 a.m. in the 2000 block of E. 32nd St. 4. A 30-year-old suspect is arrested around 8:30 a.m. Friday on I-94 near Alexandria in the stolen Blue & White cab.  Minneapolis Record Number:  977276