Neighbor charged in hit-and-run death of Brooklyn Park man

Updated: 2:46 p.m.

Hennepin County prosecutors Wednesday charged a Brooklyn Park man with second-degree intentional murder following a hit and run crash last Saturday.

Authorities say 67-year-old Paul Pfeifer was getting his mail when a person driving a Chevy Traverse SUV struck him and drove away. Pfeifer was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Police soon arrested 46-year-old Christopher Dewayne Rice, who lives near Pfeifer.

According to the criminal complaint, Rice was acting erratically and told officers that "the voices in his head told him that the person by the mailbox had done something bad" to his mother.

Prosecutors say Rice has a history of mental health issues and was civilly committed in 2019. He allegedly told officers that he has schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and had not taken his medication for more than a month.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Rice had been previously confined for mental health treatment and was facing another commitment.

"He was about to have his provisional discharge revoked,” Freeman said, “and the paperwork was moving, I understand as late as Friday, prior to the incident here."

Freeman said the incident highlighted the need for legislative action to improve mental health and court services.

A judge found Rice incompetent to stand trial in an earlier aggravated robbery case.

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