Updated:
Original:

Man charged with first-degree murder of elderly woman in Duluth store

Author:

A man has been charged with stabbing a 75-year-old woman to death in a case that has shocked the city of Duluth.

Jesse Alan Dahlstrom, 35, has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder by the St. Louis County Attorney in the death of Sally Marie Pionk at the Super One supermarket on Bristol Street in Duluth, Thursday evening.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Sally Marie Pionk," county attorney Mark Rubin said. "This is an absolute tragedy. Homicide never makes sense. We will do our best to hold the offender accountable and seek justice in this case."

Police say that the attack on Pionk, of Procter, was a random one, with The Pioneer Press reporting that Dahlstrom is alleged to have told investigators he went to Super One to "either shop or kill somebody," according to a criminal complaint.

Dahlstrom is alleged to have approached Pionk in the bakery section, grabbed her from behind and stabbed her in the neck. He was then wrestled to the ground by store employees.

Duluth in shock

The surrounding neighborhood was said to be "shellshocked" in the aftermath of the attack.

Those who knew Sally Marie Pionk have described her as a "dedicated matriarch," according to the Duluth News Tribune. At the time of her death she was still working – helping senior citizens in need of home care, doing carpentry work and running local rental properties.

"She was amazing – vibrant, still working at 75," Patti Luke, of Luke Chiropractic and Wellness in Superior, told the News Tribune. "Our hearts are broken. She always had a fun little story to tell."

In an editorial, the News Tribune said: "Sadly, yes, what happened Thursday evening in Duluth can happen here. It can happen anywhere ... we know an inexplicable moment of horror can’t truly and accurately reflect and define us, our spirit, our community and who we are."

Northland's News Center reports that Dahlstrom will undergo mental competency evaluation before a grand jury can be convened to consider the first-degree murder charge.

Dahlstrom's family issued a statement to the News Tribune, saying he had endured a "troubled life" and that they had attempted to have him civilly committed seven years ago, but their bid was unsuccessful.

Next Up

Gopher Football

U of M-barrassed: Gophers shocked by Bowling Green

The Falcons snapped a 21-game non-conference winning streak in front of a homecoming crowd.

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins applies for exemption to COVID vaccine, is rejected

Wiggins could miss a large chunk of the season without the vaccine.

CJ Ham

Vikings-Seahawks: 5 things you can count on happening

Can the Vikings finally beat Russell Wilson?

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Residents asked to be on the lookout for at-large suspect in Sauk Rapids

The suspect was last seen near the intersection of Garden Brook Drive Northeast and Strawberry Court Northeast.

Towerside Innovation District

Aquifer energy storage project wins financial backing of Mpls city council

It'll be used to power the Towerside Innovation District near the U of M.

Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 10.02.45 AM

Bomb threat prompts school evacuation in central Minnesota

A search of the building did not find any suspicious items.

Pexels - beer outside patio brewery

Brewery, taproom moving into former Twin Cities newspaper space

Loons Landing officially signed the lease this week.

Vic Richfield auto theft PD - rectangle crop

Police: Car with dog inside stolen from outside Twin Cities liquor store

They're asking people to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

John Hofer - Chisago County Sheriff's Office

Murder charge filed over inmate's death at Chisago Co. Jail

The man suddenly became unresponsive and died while in a holding cell.

Related