July 27, 2006 at 6:52 a.m.
This victim-- 25-year-old Martin Carlson--had been shot directly in the head, but he was alive when medical teams and authorities arrived at a house on Park Street, in Lindstrom about 2 a.m. July 22. Carlson, a Center City resident, was transported to Regions Hospital, in St. Paul, where he was declared dead by the Ramsey County medical examiner.
About that same time Lakes Area police and deputies were arresting Craig Steven Fleming, 46, of Lindstrom who turned himself in as the assailant. Fleming reportedly fled the Park St. house where the shooting took place and went to a home on Elm St. a few blocks away; where he asked his sister to notify police. He then laid in the driveway waiting out in the open, so there’d be no confrontation when he was apprehended.
In exercising one of five search warrants the gun believed to be the murder weapon was located by authorities in Fleming’s vehicle. (The sheriff found no record of Fleming holding a permit to carry.)
Other places authorized for search warrants were the Park St. property where Carlson was shot, Fleming’s sister’s house, and two warrants to obtain physical evidence from Fleming (DNA, etc.)
Fleming’s arraignment was Tuesday this week where the county attorney charged him with second degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon, for alleged actions against a person in the Park St. house.
Fleming’s bail is requested at $1 million, said County Attorney Katherine Johnson. His attorney has asked for a bail hearing for the court to reconsider that, but for now Fleming continues to be held. In asking for bail Johnson asserts Fleming is a risk, and she stressed that “...public safety is our primary concern right now.”
Law enforcement and prosecutors are gathering statements, processing evidence and piecing together what led up to Carlson’s slaying.
Authorities said the Center City man had been shot at close range, in the head by a 45 caliber handgun, while he sat on a couch under a picture window. The metal was recovered in the folds of the curtain.
The full criminal complaint wasn’t yet available at press deadline, but Sheriff Todd Rivard said people inside the rental home at the time are cooperating.
Authorities will learn what transpired between Carlson and Fleming that evening or even earlier-- and additional information will be developed.
Sheriff Rivard explained that the case may go to a grand jury for a first degree murder indictment. It depends on how the investigation gels. County Attorney Johnson said the timeframe currently is a pre-trial August 21 and trial October 2. These dates are all subject to change depending on any procedural motions by Fleming’s private attorney, she added. Charges can be amended at any time.
Grandstrand Funeral Home, Lindstrom, is handling arrangements for Carlson’s services, please see obituary notice.
An account for the grade-school-aged son of Martin Carlson is established at MainStreet Bank in Center City. Please send donations marked for the Mattias J. Carlson Fund to P.O. Box 247, Center City, MN 55012.