A veteran Minnesota drag racer was tragically killed January 15th in a hit-and-run homicide while attempting to retrieve stolen property.
Ken Niesen, a longtime motorcycle drag racer and native of St. Paul, discovered on the morning of the 15th that his family-owned business, Bonded Transmission Specialists, had been broken into. Niesen reported the burglary to St. Paul police, noting that several items had been stolen. Later that day, he learned that many of the stolen items were for sale on Facebook Marketplace and he and others arranged to meet with the seller at a Target store in the city of Blaine.
As store surveillance footage showed, Niesen and his constituents arrived in two vehicles at 9:30 p.m. Thirty-year-old Pierre Jerel Anderson then arrived in a white GMC Yukon and parked next to one of the vehicles. At that time, an individual got out of the vehicle to take a look inside Anderson’s Yukon at the stolen items. Niesen and others then pulled up and partially blocked Anderson. Niesen and several others climbed from the vehicle and approached Anderson’s vehicle. Anderson then rapidly accelerated and attempted to drive around Niesen’s vehicle, striking him as he stood next to the driver’s side headlight. According to charges, Niesen was run over by the front and rear tires of the GMC.
Witnesses reported the incident to police, along with a description of the vehicle, and it was located by a firefighter a short time later headed north of the Blaine Target store. With the assistance of a K-9 unit, Anderson was taken into custody.
Niesen later died from his injuries at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. His family said in a statement that he was a “wonderful son, brother, husband, father, and friend to everyone he met. Ken was a dedicated family man. He cherished spending time watching his boys’ drag racing at the same tracks’ where he raced. Ken loved motorcycle runs with his wife in the summer and snowmobile weekends in the winter with his family and friends. Words cannot express our grief. The family is moved by all love and support they have received in the last few days — especially from the racing community.”
Anderson’s criminal record included at least eight felony convictions for auto theft, robbery, possession of a pistol/assault weapon, possession of theft tools, theft, and fleeing police in a motor vehicle. He had also been convicted of driving after license revocation 20 times. Anderson was charged in Anoka County District Court with second-degree murder while committing a felony and held on $500,000 bail.
Niesen had, in recent years, begun supporting his sons, Max and Wyatt, in their motorcycle racing endeavors. The Niesen’s had most recently competed at the Manufacturers Cup Finals in Georgia in November.
Ken Niesen was 58.