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17-Year-Old Boy Killed in Mass Stabbing on Apple River in Somerset, Wisconsin, Four Others Wounded

A 17-year-old boy from Minnesota was killed and four others in their early 20s were wounded on the Apple River in Somerset, Wisconsin Saturday afternoon, according to police. The Apple River is a popular tubing spot. The victims and the suspect were part of different groups of tubers.

The suspect, a 52-year-old man from Minnesota, was taken into custody about 90 minutes after fleeing the scene. His name and photo have not been disclosed.

The attack took place north of the Sunrise Bridge. The knife has not been recovered. No description of the knife was given.

The surviving victims, a woman and three men, had a “range of knife wounds”, “a number of body injuries, torso injuries, stab wounds” according to St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson. Knudson said he does not know about the wounds of each victim.

WCCO reporter Kirsten Mitchell posted photos from the scene:

The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office issued an initial statement on Facebook:

Please be advised, the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office responded to a critical incident on the Apple River in the Town of Somerset. Five people received stab wounds and are currently in a range of serious to critical condition. A Suspect has been located and TAKEN INTO CUSTODY, there’s no further threat to the public. We’re still actively investigating this incident. The names of the victims and suspect are being withheld at this time. Sheriff Knudson will provide an official press release at a later time.

Thank you to the following agencies and our partners for their assistance, Somerset Police Department, New Richmond Police Department, WI DNR, Oak Park Heights Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Lakeview EMS, and Somerset Fire and Rescue.

Video of press conference:

St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson said Deputies and tubers aided the wounded. Two were transported out by air, two by ambulance, all to Regions Hospital in neighboring St. Paul, Minnesota and one was transported to Lakeview Hospital in neighboring Stillwater, Minnesota where he was declared deceased.

The suspect was with another group of tubers. There is no information on what precipitated the attack.

KSTP reported on an eyewitness:

“He walked over and… pushing people. First thing I think I seen was somebody hit the rock, you know cut their stomach open, but he actually pulled out a knife, and he cut four to five people, it was crazy,” said Kemany Coleman of Maple Grove.”

The Apple River has several campgrounds that offer tubing. Tubing has been going on there for decades.

Life Magazine reported in 1941 (excerpt):

On the Fourth of July weekend, Americans all over will celebrate with parades, barbecues and pool parties. But, for those looking for a more unusual way to do something festive on a summer weekend, perhaps inspiration can be found in this photo essay by Alfred Eisenstaedt, which ran in the July 21,1941, issue of LIFE Magazine.

That summer, on a Sunday right around Independence Day, the photographer traveled to Somerset, Wis., where a man named David Breault, owner of the Terrance Nite Club, had turned the nearby Apple River into a gold mine.

On that day, about 200 people had been supplied with inner tubes, on which they floated down the river, drinking beer and, when the current allowed, finding time to steal a kiss. After about 45 minutes, they came to a stopping point, where a Terrance Night Club truck would pick them up and bring them back to the starting point. If they wanted to go again, they could. The club provided the tubes for free, but it was worth the expense: Breault reported to LIFE that his business had multiplied by three since they began doing so.

Click this link then select view gallery for Life’s photos of Apple River tubing in 1941.

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