Published 09/24/12 – Dailymail (link below)
A 20-year-old college student died after being struck by a single punch while protecting two female friends from a carload of attackers in a quiet Minnesota college town. The blow knocked Colton Gleason to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the pavement. He died of head trauma hours later at the hospital.
Police are calling the attack in St Cloud random and do no know why the five to seven occupants of the car confronted Mr Gleason in an alley near the campus of St Cloud State University.
Pictured; Colten Gleason (Victim)
His horrifying death, from just one punch to the face, has shocked his friends and family.
‘This was a violent, unnecessary and senseless crime,’ his father John Gleason told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. ‘We want justice. We’re still trying to get some direction out of this.’
‘Please God, no. Tell me this is not happening,’ his friend Johanna Heidmann tweeted on Friday. ‘I will never understand God’s plan or why he does the things he does. Rest in peace Colton I love you and miss you so much already.’
Mr Gleason, who was studying business at Minnesota State University-Mankato, had traveled an hour from his hometown of Greenfield to St Cloud to visit his friends.
They were walking in a residential alley near the St Cloud State University campus about 11.30pm on Friday when a light-colored four-door sedan with five to seven people inside pulled up.
Officers believe the occupants were on the way to a nearby party. The car was so close to Mr Gleason, he put his hands on it to prevent the vehicle from hitting his friends, his father says. The car stopped and at least one man got out. The man then hit Mr Gleason in the face, knocking him to the ground. He bashed his head on the asphalt in the fall. After the attack, the car sped away.
John Gleason said he has no doubt his son was protecting his friends from the assailant. ‘My son put himself in harm’s way and it cost him his life,’ the older Gleason told the Star-Tribune.
Police are hoping someone in the car will come forward to report what they saw.
A $1,000 reward is being offered, though investigators so far are baffled by the random act of violence.
Mr Gleason’s two friends could only provide vague descriptions of the attacker and the car he rode in.
Mr Gleason was a standout on his high school football and soccer teams whom friends described as warm and always happy.
‘He was smiling all the time. His interests were living life to its fullest,’ John Gleason said.’