Minnesota man charged with random knife attack inside River North fitness center

Alex Blickem | Brown County (MN) Sheriff

A Minnesota man stabbed a River North man during a random attack while the victim was working out in a downtown condo building’s fitness center, prosecutors said. Alex Blickem, 29, was not supposed to be outside his home state, where he is awaiting trial for allegedly committing a similar attack earlier this year.

Prosecutors charged him with attempted first-degree murder, burglary, and two counts of aggravated battery during a bond hearing Saturday. Judge John Lyke ordered him held in lieu of a $1 million cash bail.

Surveillance video showed Blickem entering the condo building at 405 North Wabash and opening packages in the mailroom before he moved across the hall to the fitness center around 5:27 a.m. Thursday, Assistant State’s Attorney Ashley Romito said.

There, he walked up to a 38-year-old man he did not know, stabbed him in the side, and said, “you are dead,” said Romito. The victim ran to the lobby to get help from the building’s desk attendant. Building management told residents in an email that the attacker was “an outside person who does not live in the building.” The email did not say how the man got into the high-rise.

Police found Blickem hiding in a storage closet with a backpack containing several knives, Romito said. Officers also found a bloody knife lying in the entrance to the fitness room.

Surgeons operated on the victim at Northwestern Memorial Hospital to repair his kidney and intestine, which were lacerated in the attack, Romito said.

Blickem allegedly told police that he is homeless and came to Chicago for a girl. He also claimed to have blacked out after taking allergy medicine from Walgreens, according to Romito. She said he has an “extensive history” of psychiatric episodes and violent and abusive behavior in Minnesota.

In fact, he is on pre-trial release in that state after he allegedly entered a stranger’s home in April, attacked the man who lives there, and told the victim he was dead, Romito said. Cops reportedly found Blickem passed out on the victim’s bedroom floor with methamphetamine lying nearby. He’s charged with burglary, first-degree assault, threatening bodily harm, and narcotics charges.

Less than three months later, The McLeod (Minnesota) County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested Blickem for driving while intoxicated, fleeing police, and illegal firearm possession. Romito said there is a warrant outstanding in the case.

She also detailed Blickem’s criminal convictions, including multiple convictions for DUI and four separate harassments and restraining order violations.

Blickem was hospitalized for an elevated heart rate Saturday and did not attend his bond hearing. Judge Lyke said state law barred him from holding Blickem without bail because he was not present for the hearing.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com