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Old 09-15-07, 07:41 AM   #1
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Minneapolis Rider Killed - Apparent Homicide

It's a bad year for Minneapolis cyclists it appears. That's not a great neighborhood
but it's not nearly as bad as some - I can't imagine it, this poor guy beaten and dying
lying on someones front lawn until morning. Minneapolis night riders be careful and
maybe reconsider that 10 p.m. jaunt thru a questionable neighborhood? I hope the
ones responsible will be put away.

Here's the article:

Thumb blisters aside, Mark Loesch was excited about the new tire he put on his rebuilt bicycle late Wednesday.

When his wife, Samantha, went to bed after they watched the 10 p.m. news, Loesch told her he was going out for a "quick spin." She thought nothing of it.

"He might have been coming to my house," said Gene Chadwick, his best friend and frequent riding partner. "It wouldn't be unlike him to pop over and say 'Hello.'"

He never arrived.

About halfway between his house and Chadwick's, in the 3700 block of Elliot Avenue S., Loesch was found barely breathing on a front lawn about 7 a.m. Thursday. He was dead by the time paramedics arrived.

Police say the 41-year-old father of four is the city's 35th homicide victim this year. He died from "severe trauma." His bike was found nearby.

So far there is no explanation for what happened to him.

"It's been tearing Samantha up inside after she found out Mark had been lying in somebody's front yard in pain and agony all night long," said Will Vervair of Maple Grove, a childhood friend.

Loesch, an information technology consultant, was an avid bicyclist, and it was common for him to ride at night, said Chadwick. Sometimes they would ride together. The two planned to ride together in Sunday's Minneapolis Bike Tour.

Standing outside his friend's home Friday afternoon, Chadwick envisioned the route Loesch, a "man of action" with "legs of steel," might have taken from his home on Wentworth Avenue to Chadwick's some 20 blocks away.

Loesch likely would have biked over a pedestrian bridge on E. 40th Street that overlooks Interstate 35W en route and "likely ran into trouble along the way."

He'd left his wallet and cell phone at home, Chadwick said.

'Somebody saw something'

Loesch owned four bikes and had spent the past two weeks rebuilding the fixed-gear bicycle he rode Wednesday. Loesch had asked Chadwick to get the new tire with him, but he passed.

"Maybe if I'd have gone ... " said Chadwick, his voice trailing off.

"He was such a strong, active, fit guy," Chadwick continued. "You would think somebody saw something."

Samantha Loesch called police early Thursday after she woke to find that her husband of 16 years had not returned home, Vervair said.

About an hour after she gave them his description, a police chaplain arrived at her front door with the news, Vervair said.

"She's trying to be strong for the kids," Chadwick said.

The incident has upset residents of the block where Loesch's body was found. On Thursday afternoon, City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden was knocking on doors, asking residents if they saw or heard anything and to help provide police.

"I'm so angry and shocked at this horrible violence in our community," Glidden said Friday. "In one sense it leaves me both at a loss for words and at the same time saying we must seek action."

Witnesses told police they did see a man matching the victim's description riding a bicycle in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call the tips line at 612-692-TIPS.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.

'Whip-smart' sense of humor

On Friday, friends described Loesch as a guy with a "passion for life who liked to laugh and make others laugh," Vervair said.

Chadwick, who met Loesch through his wife about 13 years ago, said they both shared the same "super quick wit," and could find humor in almost anything.

Jim Balabuszko-Reay worked with Loesch at Healthia Consulting, an information technology company in Golden Valley. He said he and other colleagues were shocked when they learned Loesch was killed. "This is a horrible nightmare," he said. "For something so random to happen, it was just a shock. He is such a sweet person."

On the job at Healthia Consulting, Loesch was known as a "great leader" with a wonderful sense of humor.

"He had a whip-smart way of making you laugh," Balabuszko-Reay said.

A devoted father of three girls and one boy ranging in age from 3 to 14, Loesch could be found on his knees playing with plastic horses with his daughter or building LEGO robots with his son.

"He always tried to fit three days into one," Balabuszko-Reay said.

Most days, Loesch either biked or ran. "He was an exercise nut," Balabuszko-Reay said. "He biked to work every day on a single-gear bike from basically March through December. Mark didn't do snow."

After work, he ate dinner with the family and spent some time with the kids until they went to bed.

And often on a whim, he would bike to a friend's house.

"He tried to be safe," Balabuszko-Reay said. "He wouldn't carry anything that would make him 'muggable' -- maybe just $10 in his pocket."It's so unfathomable," Chadwick's wife, Amy McNally, said Friday. "He was halfway to our house."
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Old 09-15-07, 08:41 AM   #2
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This should almost be posted in SSFG.

This tragedy really gets to me on several different levels---
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Old 09-15-07, 12:49 PM   #3
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That is terrible, but kudos to the reporter. A very moving article.
Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
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Old 09-16-07, 01:04 PM   #4
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Odd, the article does't say anything about the apparent incident. Was he run off the road, perhaps jumped, shot at, was something throw at him?

Tragic, mysterious. Reinforces the fact that your number could be called at any point. And to live like there's no tomorrow.


Apparently he died from multiple blunt force trauma to the head
This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.
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Old 09-16-07, 01:47 PM   #5
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I have lost yet another "friend I never met."
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 09-16-07, 03:20 PM   #6
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Yikes. I feel for his wife and children. I know that here in Calgary, there is some 'no-go' spots along the riverbank close to the drop in centre, some crazy drug addicts there. I've had a couple close calls myself with degenrates as well. Hope they catch those responsible.
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Old 09-19-07, 06:41 AM   #7
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By Tim Harlow, Star Tribune

Residents of south Minneapolis are sponsoring a walk and bike event today in memory of Mark Loesch, the avid cyclist and father of four who was slain while riding his bike last week.

Starting at 6:30 p.m., participants will retrace the route he might have taken, said event organizer Linda Shay. They will go from Martin Luther King Park, 4051 Nicollet Av. S., across the 40th Street pedestrian bridge to the 3700 block of Elliot Avenue, where Loesch died Thursday morning.

There, members of MAD DADS, an organization that fights crime and drugs and supports communities, along with City Council members will speak at a memorial ceremony. People are invited to light candles and leave flowers in Loesch's honor, Shay said.

Neighborhood Citizen Patrol members are encouraged to wear their vests. For more information, e-mail [email protected].

Funeral services were Tuesday at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. Donations may be made to the Mark Loesch Memorial Fund at Associated Bank, 5353 Wayzata Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN 55416.
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