Grocery Worker Killed on the Job in Minneapolis

No motive given for violent attack at family-owned Oak Grove Grocery
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
a woman smiling for the camera
Oak Grove Grocery Facebook Photo
An Oak Grove Grocery employee dies after customer impales him with a golf club. (Image source: Oak Grove Grocery Facebook page)

In what police called a “senseless crime,” a grocery associate in Minneapolis was killed on Dec. 8 by a local man. The employee, identified as Robert Skafte, was working behind a counter at Oak Grove Grocery in the city’s Loring Park neighborhood when the alleged assailant, Taylor Justin Schulz, approached with several items and then attacked him with a golf club.

In a statement following the incident, the Minneapolis Police Department revealed that Skafte died at a local hospital due to blunt trauma from impalement. “Upon receiving information from a witness, officers tracked the suspect to a nearby apartment unit. The suspect barricaded himself inside the apartment. Negotiators, the SWAT team, the drone unit, and the bomb squad from the Minneapolis Police Department responded. After nearly six hours, the suspect, age 44, was arrested without incident,” officers reported.  A motive for the murder has not yet been determined.

[Read more: Grocers Are NOT Fabricating a Crisis”]

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the 66-year-old victim was a former ballet dancer who had worked at the grocery store for decades. The newspaper also quoted a frequent customer who said that she spoke to one of the store owners, who said she was not sure when the store would reopen.

In a Facebook post, the family-owned Oak Grove Grocery paid tribute to their team member. “We are devastated by the death of Robert Skafte, the heart and soul of the Oak Grove Grocery and the entire Loring Park Community. Robert was the definition of a good neighbor, a true friend, and the best teammate. He was the light of the neighborhood and our world will forever be a little less bright without him in it. Thank you for all the love and support during this unbelievably tragic time. The store will remain closed until further notice.”

Also last week, an employee at a Kroger store near Detroit was punched by a woman at the self-checkout area. The clerk suffered a head injury, and the customer was charged with assault. 

Worker and shopper safety has become a growing issue in the grocery industry. Earlier this year, front-line enablement solution provider Axonify shared the results of its survey showing that two in five front-line retail workers are afraid when going to work because of possible situations with volatile customers. In addition, 33% reported that their store had experienced a violent situation in the past. 

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