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Teen arrested after hockey coach gunned down on his doorstep

 May 15, 2023

A Minnesota teenager has been arrested in connection with the murder of a respected youth hockey coach. This teenager, Kle Swee, 17, is reportedly the same youth who was recorded brandishing what appeared to be a firearm in a disturbing robbery video last year - an event that resulted in charges of first-degree aggravated robbery against him.

In the unsettling footage, Swee can be seen attempting to steal the other student's cell phone, leading to a physical altercation. The entire incident was captured on video by another student present at the time. The victim was 15, while Swee was 16, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Initially, there was uncertainty regarding the authenticity of the firearm, but it was later confirmed to be a BB gun. As a result of this incident, Swee pleaded guilty in August and was placed on supervised probation.

From Probation to Alleged Murder

After serving 100 hours of community service, Swee was discharged from his probation in January. However, he found himself back in custody this past Wednesday, suspected of the murder of 44-year-old Michael Brasel, just four days after the fatal shooting on May 6.

Brasel, a beloved member of the St. Paul community, was shot dead as he confronted a person attempting to break into his wife's car outside their home in St. Anthony Park. Brasel's two young sons, in eighth and fifth grades, reportedly heard their father yell, "What are you doing?" moments before a hail of gunfire was heard.

The murder charges filed last Friday revealed the tragic aftermath, with Brasel critically injured in his front yard. Witnesses reported seeing a black Honda with tinted windows and a loud exhaust speeding away from the scene.

A Community Mourns

Despite efforts by paramedics and hospital staff, Brasel succumbed to his injuries. The news of his death sent shockwaves through the community, with hundreds gathering at Langford Park in St. Anthony Park for a vigil to honor Brasel and his legacy, CBS reported

Brasel's wife, Hilary, shared a heartfelt tribute on Facebook, stating, "Michael loved, Loved, LOVED coaching hockey". She further revealed that their fifth-grade son, Miles, was among the multiple 911 callers reporting the shooting.

Images of Brasel coaching various youth hockey teams over the years were shared widely as a testament to his impact on the community. "We are so grateful for the outpouring of support and love from friends, family, neighbors, and the community at large", said Hillary.

Investigation and Arrest

Two days after the murder, St. Paul police announced that their department's SWAT team had executed a search warrant at a residence housing the 17-year-old suspect. The search was conducted based on witness statements, surveillance footage, and phone data. The investigation was further aided by a car bumper found at the crime scene that bore a license plate.

Swee attempted to escape through a window during the raid but was apprehended swiftly. He was subsequently charged with second-degree murder.

The Suspect's Troubling History

Ramsey County prosecutors highlighted Swee's previous criminal history during his court hearing on Friday. In addition to the robbery incident in 2022 that led to his expulsion from high school, Swee was reportedly involved in a burglary incident in 2021. At 15, he broke into a garage in Albert Lea, Minn., intending to steal a car.

Assistant Ramsey County attorney Madelyn Adams stated in court that the recent incident showed Brasel was shot "in his own front yard". Further evidence suggested that Brasel was killed while trying to prevent Swee from stealing his vehicle.

A Call for Justice

Adams argued that Swee should remain in custody, given his criminal history and the severity of his alleged offenses. "[Swee's] criminal history is indicative of an individual who does not hesitate to invade the personal space of his victims," she said.

The suspect's mother agreed with the proposal. His attorney, Karla Valusek Strom, stated, "We have no argument regarding custody." In light of Swee's history and the evidence against him, Judge Sophia Vuelo concurred with the arrangement, emphasizing Swee's apparent "disregard for human life."

The county attorney's office filed a motion to have Swee tried as an adult. If convicted of the murder, he could face life imprisonment.

Continuing Investigation

Officers disclosed that the license plate found on the car bumper left at the crime scene was registered to Swee's father, and a Honda parked in the residence's garage matched witness descriptions and surveillance footage captured at the scene. Swee remains in custody without bail and has not yet provided a statement to the police. A court date has yet to be announced and the investigation into the incident remains ongoing.