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Family of St. Paul beating victim speaks out

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The family of a St. Paul man severely beaten and robbed earlier this month is speaking up as the man continues to make small steps toward recovery, the Pioneer Press reports.

Ray Widstrand, 26, of St. Paul suffered "potentially fatal brain swelling" and "permanent and protracted loss of brain function," a criminal complaint says, after he after was was pulled into a fight as he was walking by the melee in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood Aug. 4.

According to the criminal complaint, Widstrand was walking near his apartment when he was hit in the head, kicked and stomped on.

Five people have been charged in connection with the incident, including some alleged gang members.

Ray Widstrand's father, Peter Widstrand, told the Pioneer Press that his son would want "positive things" to come out of what has happened instead of pity, and "would want all the people in the community to work for a safer, positive community, and not tear people apart, and say it's this race and not that race."

"I think people of all groups are shocked at the violence," Peter Widstrand.

Peter Widstrand says his son takes "some steps forward" every day, and every day he sees something, "whether it's in his eyes or something he does."

Earlier this week, Ray Widstrand's Caring Bridge page noted that he was breathing on his own for periods of time over the weekend.

Ray Winstrand still hasn't been able to speak with his family, and they admit they are worried how far his progress will go.

Peter Widstrand says they don't know when Ray Widstrand will "return to work or return home" and they might not know for years."

"Progress can stop tomorrow," he told the Pioneer Press. "It might not stop two years from now."

Peter Widstrand told the paper that he has his moments where he's "really angry at the perpetrators, but right now, we're trying to be helpful and focused on Ray getting better."

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