Charges: Man Threw Punch That Left Victim With Brain Swelling

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A Maplewood man faces charges after he allegedly punched another man who is now in critical condition.

Kenneth Lax, 44, is charged with first-degree assault in Ramsey County.

According to the complaint, police responded on Thursday evening to the intersection of Snelling Avenue North and Charles Avenue on a reported assault. When they arrived, they found a man lying in the street unconscious, with a pool of blood coming from his head.

A witnesses who knew the suspect – later identified as Lax – provided police with his phone number. The witnesses said Lax approached the victim near the 500 block of Snelling Avenue and the two got into a fight. Then the witness said Lax punched the victim and fled.

A few hours later, Lax was taken into custody. In a post-Miranda interview, he said it was “just a fight.” The complaints says that Lax said he was a community activist and he saw a woman falling to the ground, and “attacked” the man because wanted to protect the community, especially women. Lax said he punched the victim once with a closed fist, striking him in the cheek.

Staff at Regions Hospital said the man was in critical condition and would require surgery. His level of brain injury is not known but he had significant brain swelling, according to court documents.

The first-degree assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, if Lax is convicted.

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