Friends, Family Remember Barber Hit and Killed in St. Paul Crash

April 21, 2018 10:14 PM

Family members identified 41-year-old Lashay Whittaker as the man St. Paul police say died after his car was slammed into by a suspect, fleeing from an earlier domestic situation that involved a machete.

The suspect, 26-year-old Shawn Michael Konder of St. Paul, is being held on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide.

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Whittaker spent the last 15 years as a barber at Grooming House on Selby Avenue in St. Paul. Co-workers described the father of two as a hard worker and all-around great guy.

RELATED: 1 Dead after Suspect in Domestic Incident with Machete Crashes into Car in St. Paul

Ray Ford stopped in every week. He said he saw Whittaker Friday.

"He's been my barber for 20 years," Whittaker said. "I talked to him weekly. Just talked to him yesterday. We were talking about the NBA finals and making bets."

St. Paul police call the crash a "horrible tragedy," describing Whittaker as an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Around midnight, a 911 call came in from the 800 block of Blair Avenue, where a woman reported that Konder was fighting with her teenage son. She told dispatchers her boyfriend threatened to stab the teen with a machete.

Police spokesperson Steve Linders said as officers responded to that call, they got an update from dispatchers.

"The suspect had jumped in a van and had driven away with the machete, and was now driving the alleys in the neighborhood at a high rate of speed," Linders said Saturday.

Linders said as officers tried to stop Konder, he almost hit an officer's vehicle. A short time later, he said responding officers heard the sound of a crash near Victoria Street and Sherburne Avenue.

"What they found was just incredibly disturbing," Linders said. "First of all, the suspect was trying to flee on foot. They were able to apprehend him and take him into custody. Most troubling, they found another vehicle that had been struck by the suspect vehicle."

The scene showed Whittaker's car completely split in two. Police say it appears Konder also hit a nearby two-car garage. The structure was later demolished and stood in a pile of rubble Saturday afternoon.

Loved ones who stopped by the scene left behind flowers and balloons tied to a sign pole.

"I just can't believe this happened to him," Ford said, staring at the make-shift memorial. "I really can't. He didn't deserve it. It just shows you how quickly life can be taken away."

Credits

Kirsten Swanson

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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