Young man charged over brutal attack outside Minnesota State Fair

The victim was left brain damaged and requires near constant care.
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Gunner McLellan

A man has been charged over the vicious assault that happened near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in September.

Gunner McClellan, 21, of St. Paul, is accused of carrying out the brutal attack in an alley on Albert Street, between Como and Breda Avenues, in the early hours of Sept. 1.

The male victim of the assault had to undergo surgery to relive pressure and swelling on his brain, and later developed an infection that required further hospitalization.

He is still wearing a protective helmet to protect parts of his skull that have not yet been replaced and requires near constant care, according to a criminal complaint.

The victim, referred to as "MD" in the criminal complaint, had met with two friends at the fair, where they shared some beers at the Midway before leaving.

It was as they walked some of the streets near the fairgrounds that they passed a house where a group of 4-5 men were gathered on the porch having a party.

Some of the men in the porch group called the trio "f*****ts" and "p*****s" and then said they would like to "kick their asses," before two of the men – one of them McClellan – began following MD and his friends down the street.

As they entered the alley, the trio turned around to tell the following men they weren't going to fight. McClellan's friend responded by saying "let's fight just for fun," before punching one of MD's friends 6 times in the face.

During the ensuing altercation, MD's friends told police that MD received a single punch to the face from McClellan that caused him to go down "like a ton of bricks."

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MD was said to be holding his hands up in an "I don't want to fight" gesture at the time.

Another witness told police that she's known McClellan and the other man involved "to pick fights since they were 15 years old."

When interviewed by police, McClellan said MD had gone after him, so "he squared up to defend himself."

He also claims MD took the first swing at him. He then said he punched back, hitting MD on his chin but said he "didn't hit the man as hard as he could have because he was off balance."

He said he wasn't sure if he'd knocked the man out.

McClellan has been charged with 1st degree assault causing great bodily harm, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

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