Safety Concerns Increase After A Man Was Assaulted At Tri-Towers

Staff at the Housing and Redevelopment Authority say this is the first incident of this kind happening since the opening of the Rainbow Center's warming shelter.

DULUTH, Minn. – A 73-year-old man is recovering from his injuries after being attacked at Tri-Towers by someone staying at the Rainbow Center’s warming shelter

Terry Schnepp, a Tri-Towers resident, says he is still feeling the pain from his injuries after being attacked last week.

“I’ve been living here for 10 years and never had anything like this happen,” said Schnepp.

Monday night, a man staying at the Rainbow Center’s warming center attempted to enter the Tri-Towers building.

Schnepp says he was standing up for another female resident before the man punched him.

“He grabbed the ashtray from the gazebo and he threw it in her face. I stood up and said that’s enough, get off the property. He just nailed me,” said Schnepp.

Schnepp and other residents we spoke to say they now are worried about their safety.

“Nobody wants to out here at night alone. We got the warming center there now and nobody wants out here at night,” said Schnepp.

Officials from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Duluth say they have brought in extra security since moving the warming shelter to the Rainbow Center.

“We take security very seriously. We have cameras, we have police officers, we have security. We have extra security at Tri-Towers during warming center hours,” said Executive Director Jill Keppers.

It is believed the man who committed the assault may have been suffering from a mental crisis.

HRA staff say they don’t want this unfortunate situation to overshadow the hard work being put in to help those in need.

“People should know that people experiencing homelessness or using the warming center. 99% of the time they are really cold, tired and looking for a place to sleep. There are always outliers that can cause disruption, but we don’t want a single incident to change the good work,” said Keppers.

Schnepp says he is now concerned for his eyesight and how he will pay for his medical bills.

The man who assaulted Schnepp was cited for fifth degree assault and disorderly conduct.

He is also being banned from the warming center for 30 days.

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