Skip to main content

Suspected 'St. Paul slapper' charged after Columbia Heights arrest

The 38 year old is being linked to a string of random attacks across St. Paul.

The man police believe is linked to a series of random "slapping" assaults across St. Paul has been charged with a crime in Columbia Heights. 

Justin Kaneakua, 38, of Minneapolis, was arrested on Tuesday in connection with an assault at a business in Columbia Heights on Jan. 7.

According to a criminal complaint, Kaneakua punched a man several times and also tried hitting him with a metal pipe in a parking lot outside a business on Central Avenue.

He attacked when the victim was trying to call 911, with Kaneakua punching him in the face. The victim chased him after his phone was taken, only for Kaneakua to pull the metal pipe from his car, a Subaru.

Kaneakua made a swing for the victim, but slipped on the ice and fell.

He's been charged with 3rd-degree assault and attempted 2nd-degree assault, but could face more if he's found to be the man dubbed "The St. Paul slapper."

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

Police in St. Paul have been looking for the man responsible for at least five random attacks on strangers in December and January.

In each case, a man would get out of a Subaru and proceed to either slap a stranger, assault them with an object, threaten them or damage their vehicles.

After Kaneakua was arrested, St. Paul police said they believe he's the person randomly assaulting people, but as of Wednesday nothing had been forwarded to the department for consideration of charges.

Next Up

fire truck

Explosion reported near Hastings; man airlifted to hospital

Authorities say the victim has serious injuries.

Screen Shot 2022-10-05 at 2.30.07 PM

School faces uncertain future after land sold to Catholic nonprofit

The school near Marine on St. Croix sits on land that's just been sold.


Boy suffers 'life-threatening' injuries in car-bike collision in Minneapolis

Police said the driver is cooperating with the investigation.

North Memorial Health Hospital

Man dies from gunshot wounds after Minneapolis shooting

The death marked the 69th homicide of the year in the city.


Gallery: Island cabin is one of northernmost homes for sale in MN

Want to buy one of the northernmost homes on the market in Minnesota?

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

Charges: Houston men robbed Edina bank of $110,000

A third suspect has not yet been identified.

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys coming to Minnesota for 2023 tour

The rock band hasn't gone on tour in the United States since 2019.


St. Paul police

Man fatally shot in St. Paul, no arrests yet

It's the 18th homicide in St. Paul this year.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 12.48.11 PM

Police arrest homeowner who shot suspect in stolen car crash

The 36-year-old man is being held for aggravated assault.


Woman dies after reported domestic assault in Columbia Heights

A man is being held on probable cause 1st-degree manslaughter.

Teen suspect in Columbia Heights carjacking arrested

Two teens were shot in the carjacking on Monday.

Know this man? He almost ran down a cop in Columbia Heights

He crashed into a squad car before fleeing the scene.

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 6.59.38 PM

Woman arrested after man killed in St. Paul apartment

It's the 25th homicide in St. Paul this year.