GANG BEATING: Mother of teen suspect apologizes - New York News

GANG BEATING: Mother of teen suspect apologizes

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A series of attacks on the east side of St. Paul have many people wondering how the authorities will respond, but the mother of a suspect in the near-fatal beating of Ray Widstrand is starting with an apology to the community.

The son of Teena Potts made his first court appearance on Wednesday, and his mother told FOX 9 News he should take responsibility for his actions if he was involved in the beating last Sunday.

"I think about the man every day and pray for a miracle for him to come out of the condition that he's in," Potts told FOX 9 News. "I just want to say I'm sorry if it is the case of how it actually happened."

Potts said her heart goes out to Widstrand's family, but for her family's sake, she also hopes prosecutors won't certify her 15-year-old son as an adult.

"This has been stressful," Potts said. "This has been a parent's worst nightmare."

Potts told FOX 9 News her son has been in trouble before for petty theft, but never anything violent. Now, he is charged with aggravated assault, robbery and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang -- but she doesn't believe her son is a gang member.

"My prayers go out to [the Widstrand] family," Potts said. "I just pray for everyone during this tough time and that we can all get through this."

As the case moves forward in the courts, Potts said the Widstrands aren't the only family in danger of losing a loved one.

"I know the family feels like they lost a person. I also feel like I'm losing someone too -- my child," she said. "It's a hard time for all of us that are involved in this situation."

Her son is one of four teenagers arrested along with Issac Maiden, accused of attacking Widstrand as he tried to walk through a group of 30 to 40 young people who were fighting in the street.

The attack outraged people living in the area as well as city leaders. On Wednesday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman called for more police in the area during his annual budget address.

"We have to have an immediate increase in police presence on the east side to deal with these incidents of too many gangs and too many youth running around causing trouble," he said.

City Councilman Dan Bostrom represents the ward where Widstrand was assaulted, and he said something must be done.

"This kind of stuff can't be tolerated and it simply can't go on," he said.

According to Bostrom, the beating and the shooting death of a young man during a fight between rival gangs near Payne and Case last month has neighbors on edge about roaming gangs of young people.

"The only thing they understand is if you take firm action and say, 'This stuff is over and it's not going to happen in this city,'" Bostrom said.

City leaders plan to attend a community meeting at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church to talk about the recent violence on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

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