Minnesota man charged in deadly tubing attack on Apple River

NOW: Minnesota man charged in deadly tubing attack on Apple River

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- A Minnesota man has been charged in a deadly attack on the Apple River. 

Fifty-two-year-old Nicolae Miu faces the following charges:

  • 1st degree intentional homicide
  • Attempted first degree intentional homicide (four counts)

Deputies responded to the Town of Somerset on July 30 following 911 calls indicating there were four-to-five victims on the river with wounds to their mid-to-upper bodies. First responders located one victim without vital signs, who was later pronounced deceased at an area hospital. Three other victims were also located with stab wounds. 

Responding deputies learned a suspect, later identified as Miu, reportedly ran back upriver and entered the woods along the western bank. A perimeter was established and officers converged upon Village Park. Miu was eventually taken into custody with tips from citizens and staff of Rivers Edge campground. 

According to a criminal complaint, the suspect had been floating on the river with his wife and a group of friends that afternoon. Miu's wife told investigators her husband put on scuba gear at one point and left to try to find a phone that a member of their group had lost. She said Miu was looking for the phone near a group of guys also tubing on the river. She told investigators that at one point she heard screaming and said the guys had gotten off their tubes and started hitting Miu. She said two others members from her group ran to help her husband, but he was already walking back toward their party. 

When asked if Miu carried a weapon on him, his wife stated he had a knife in his pocket that "wasn't very big." She went on to say "those guys grabbed it from him" and swung it at him during the altercation. She told investigators that Miu mentioned the group of guys had been calling him a pedophile and attacked him.

Witnesses interviewed said a fight on the river started after Miu was bothering a group of juveniles on their tubes. The kids were reportedly yelling for help from others floating down the river nearby. Witnesses said a group of people came and stood in between Miu and the juveniles and told him to leave before he allegedly punched or slapped a female that was in the group confronting him. The witnesses said a man punched Miu and he fell into the river. They said Miu then started stabbing people near him using a three-inch blade. 

Authorities reviewed footage obtained from the incident that shows Miu run up to the group of boys and grab onto their tubes as people in the party tell him to "get away." A large group surrounds Miu, telling him to leave the area but he does not. The camera shows a "commotion" as Miu falls backwards into the water, is slapped and he reemerges. As Miu appears to be getting back to his feet, he is shoved by someone. Miu gets up with his knife in hand and as the individual moves to shove him again, Miu stabs them in the abdomen. The video describes a "chaotic" scene as Miu swings the knife at others during the altercation, who can be seen wounded, laying in the river. 

When questioned, the complaint says Miu told investigators "it was self-defense." He said a lot of people who confronted him produced weapons, including two knives, and were hitting him. He said he didn't remember anything after that. Miu said he approached the group of tubers while looking for his friend's phone that was in a "floater" bag provided to the group to keep valuables in. He said the group looked like they had found something. When he approached the group, Miu said they started calling him names for wearing snorkel gear. He said  they grabbed his snorkel and goggles and threw them in the river. By that time, he said another group of individuals approached him, yelling at him and calling him a child molester. 

Miu said he didn't tell his group what happened because he didn't want anyone "roused up" and said the kids who had attacked him were "too drunk" and "too set on going after people."

Miu is currently behind held on $1 million cash bond. 

A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 12.

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